Fortune reports that the US Government gave Bank of America a 500 million dollar bailout last week. According to an audit last month , the Federal Reserve gave 16 trillion dollars worth of emergency loans within a 3 year span. Much of it went to foreign banks, but Bank of America received $1.3 trillion. Bank of America is one the major lobbiers of the Federal Reserve in a list that also includes American Express, the American Banker Association, GE, Goldman Sachs, Charles Schwab, Dollar General, Ebay, JP Morgan, Ford, General Motors, AFL-CIO, and NAACP. There are also reports that some states are trying togive banks immunity for their behavior that led to the housing crisis and financial crash. The big banks that profit off mortgages spent 8 million dollars in political contributions since the start of 09.
Bank of America is also laying off 3,500 people . About two million people work at banks in the United States, even though that is less than worked at banks in 2008. Of course, the actual GDP produced by the banks is the same as it was before the financial crisis.
Bank of America spent about 4 million dollars on lobbying in 2010 . They were interested in almost 100 bills. They are one of the more notable clients of the famed Podesta Group . Of the 16 lobbyists Bank of America is using, 12 have been through the revolving door . They have contributed to both parties (about 14 million dollars since 1998), with Republicans receiving slightly more. They also like incumbents, as over $11 million of their contributions have been to incumbents. Barney Frank , who was a key congressman in both TARP and Dodd-Frank (obviously), was the top Democrat receiving money from Bank of America. So far this year they have given twice as much to Republicans as Democrats. Merrill Lynch, which is now part of Bank of America, gave over 80% to Republicans in the 2010 cycle. Bank of America also gave $161,000 to the Republican Senatorial Committee in 2010. James Mahoney, a man connected to (but not a registered lobbyist) Bank of America, was caught on camera saying that the Bank will help Rick Perry out on his presidential candidacy. Mahoney has also been a big giver to Democrats.
The two House Committees Bank of America is most interested in is the Ways and Means (almost $200,000) and Financial Service Committee (over $400,000). According to the Center for Responsive Politics , Bank of America has two PACs active, and both have spent over 200,000 dollars already this cycle. The PACs give to both parties, but more Republicans than Democrats . Barney Frank, Jason Chaffetz, Darrell Issa, Claire McCaskill, Mitch McConnell, and Dianne Feinstein are some of the notable Congressman and Senators that have received money from Bank of America’s PACs.
If the actual money trail isn’t enough, Washington’s Blog writes: “It is common for powerful and wealthy people informally influence agency decisions. Just look at every captured financial regulator in the United States.”