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Finreg Conference Committee Awash in Industry Contributions

June 10, 2010 - by Moshe Bildner

Two weeks ago we reported that the Senate had selected twelve of its members to meet with House representatives to work out the differences between the two chambers’ financial reform bills and that these twelve senators had netted an enormous amount of contributions from the finance industry.

On Wednesday, the House announced its list of thirty-one conferees, and like their Senate counterparts, the House conferees are bringing massive amounts of finance industry campaign contributions to the negotiating table. According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, for the 2010 cycle alone, these representatives have collected an aggregate of $6,192,618, for an average of over $199,000 each. This number is substantially higher than for the House as a whole, where the average representative has received closer to $113,000, or over 40% less.

The top earner was Rep. Paul Kanjorski [D, PA-11], who raked in a total of $633,797, more than the bottom fifty Representatives put together.

As large as they are, these numbers actually understate financial industry contributions to the conference committee. Many of the House (and Senate) conferees have been in Congress for quite some time. As a result, most have had long careers over which to get financial industry contributions. Over the course of their careers, House conferees have accumulated no less than $47,492,205 from the financial industry, or on average of over $1,530,000 each.

Senate conferees, meanwhile, collected a great deal more than their House counterparts. Their total, topping $64,000,000, comes to an average of $5,403,000 per senator. As in the House, this number is dramatically higher than the Senate average, where the remaining senators collected around $260,000 each (or a whopping 95% less). Sen. Chuck Schumer [D, NY] leads senators in financial industry contributions, receiving $17,507,031.

Altogether, the industry has contributed over $112,000,000 to the members of the conference committee responsible for putting together the final version of the new Financial Regulation legislation. The committee will be meeting next week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to start voting, and then Tuesday of the week after and each day after until they finalize the bill. We’ll be watching and reporting on how all this finance money might be affecting the negotiations and how conferees vote.

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