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Where will big business put its political money in 2014?

My buddy Tom Hamburger of the Washington Post is up today with a comparison of big business campaign contributions in 2010 and 2012 against the Republican members of Congress who voted for and against the bill that ended the shutdown/debt limit mess of last week.

A key finding:

“The American Bankers Association, in fact, gave more money over the past two election cycles to GOP lawmakers who in effect voted to allow the United States to default on its debt than those who voted against that scenario.”

Mainstream business groups, like the ABA strongly supported an “aye” vote on the deal that — only temporarily, of course — ended the government shutdown and raised the debt ceiling. The Chamber, in fact, announced in advance of the vote that it would “score” the vote, meaning those who voted against the deal would lose points in the rating of voting records that the Chamber maintains.

In theory, that should reduce the chance that the mainstream business groups will continue their usual contributions to the members who voted “no.” But, according to the quotes in Hamburger’s story, the donors were not of a mind to issue any guarantees that anyone who voted that way would be off the list of future recipients.

As the business community’s blood pressure settles back down, and political analysts try to learn the lessons of the incident, there’s a simple-minded version in which mainstream business type and the more moderate Republicans  will form one clique and the Tea Party Republicans will continue to receive support from other elements like the Koch brothers and Heritage Action.

It’s complicated because it’s unlikely that the ABA and the Chamber and other big cigars would really want to see the Democrats take over the House.

Something I didn’t mention from the Minneapolis talk last week by political scientist Norm Ornstein: Ornstein said the key would who financed whom in some of the Republican primaries that will put Tea Party challengers against more mainstream conservatives and even the few remaining Republican moderates.

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 10/22/2013 - 11:07 pm.

    The reason the ABA has been supporting republicans

    since 2010 is because the GOP opposes and has vowed to overturn, Dodd-Frank, an ill-conceived law pushed through during the financial crisis of 2008.

    Vowing to never let a serious crisis go to waste, Chris Dodd and Barney Frank achieved two things – giving the federal government total control over the banking industry, and 2) diverting attention from the real cause of the financial crisis, the sub prime mortgage mess, created by congressional democrats who were forcing lending institutions to make bad loans to people who had chance of paying them back … government mismanagement led by non other than Chris Dodd and Barney Frank.

    The law has been a disaster for the banking industry and anyone in need of banking services. It has stifled small business loans, raised fees on consumers, and made banking more expensive in general. Bankers know that only a republican majority can offer them any chance of relief.

    • Submitted by Tom Lynch on 10/23/2013 - 12:42 am.

      Mr. Tester is quite correct

      Before Dodd-Frank, the Chamber of Commerce and the American Banking Association were strong supporters of Democrats. If by supporters, you mean trying to defeat them with everything in their might(pockerbooks).

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/23/2013 - 09:52 am.


      Do you consider the Federal Reserve Board to be part of the federal government?
      And if you want to see near total government control of a banking industry look at China. We’re not even close.

      And I can just hear those poor bankers bleating while the Feds twisted their arms behind their backs and forced them to issue loans.
      The truth is, the received wisdom in the banking and real estate industries (and the culture in general) was that property values were a one way ratchet; no one could lose by investing in property and owning one’s home was a valuable investment. The bankers (and pseudo bankers — most of the loans were not made by regulated banks but by other financial institutions that were acting like banks but were not regulated as such).
      They thought that they had an easy money machine.
      Most of us know better now.

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