Earlier this year, House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling introduced the Financial CHOICE Act, a bill that would gut significant parts of the landmark Wall Street reform law passed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. If passed, the measure would strip the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of many of its powers, requiring it to obtain congressional approval before taking enforcement actions against financial institutions, restricting its ability to write rules that regulate financial companies, allowing its director to be fired by the president, and keeping the public from having access to its database of consumer complaints.
After the bill was approved by the House Financial Services Committee on a 34-26 party-line vote, MapLight investigated and found that committee members who voted for the bill received almost 80 percent more money from commercial banks and holding companies during the 2016 election cycle than representatives who voted against it. Representatives supporting the measure received an average of $72,191 from commercial banks and holding companies while lawmakers who voted against the measure received an average of $40,437. Hensarling, the bill’s sponsor, is the leading recipient of banking industry campaign contributions on the committee, having received $223,900 since November 2014.
While the bill was up for a vote on the floor, MapLight dug deeper and uncovered that the 41 sponsors of the bill received almost three times more money from commercial banks and holding companies during the 2016 election cycle than representatives who were not sponsors of the legislation. Representatives sponsoring the measure received an average of $55,754 from commercial banks and holding companies while other lawmakers received an average of $20,518.
Our data was cited in the International Business Times, Morning Call, the Los Angeles Times, Standard-Examiner, and Yahoo! News. ReThink Media, a group that conducts in-depth media and opinion analysis, sent our story along to their readers, encouraging them to use our content in their response to the House vote to roll back financial protections.