Dec. 14, 2014 -- On December 11, the House passed the 2015 federal budget (H.R. 83) by a vote of 219-206, appropriating more than $1 trillion for federal agencies. Buried in the 1,600 pages of the bill’s text are hundreds of controversial provisions, known as “policy riders,” some of which benefit powerful industries.
One of the most controversial provisions is a measure that was written by lobbyists for Citigroup. The provision rolls back part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that prohibits entities insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) from trading complicated financial devices known as custom swaps, a type of derivative. Just four banks, Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, control more than 90 percent of the banking industry's swaps market.
- PACs of Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase, banks representing more than 90 percent of the swaps market gave, on average, 3.9 times more money to democrats voting 'YES' ($12,956) than democrats voting 'NO' ($3,293).
Campaign Contributions: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions from the political action committees (PAC) of the top four banks, Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan Chase to members of the 113th House of Representatives from January 1, 2013 - November 24, 2014. Data source: FEC
- PACs of Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase, banks representing more than 90 percent of the swaps market, gave, on average, 2.8 times more money to legislators voting 'YES' ($9,979) than legislators voting 'NO' ($3,562).
PACs of Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase, banks representing more than 90 percent of the swaps market, gave, on average, 2.2 times more money to Republicans voting 'YES' ($8,932) than Republicans voting 'NO' ($4,119).
Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS), who first offered the Citigroup provision at a committee hearing in June as an amendment to the financial services appropriations bill, received $29,000 from the top four banks.
Top 10 Representatives who voted 'YES' on H.R. 83 and received campaign contributions from the PACs of the four banks:
- Since January 1, 2013, the top four banks have spent a combined $30.7 million lobbying Congress and federal agencies.
- In the first three quarters of 2014, the four banks spent $13.1 million on lobbying.
- In 2013, the four banks spent $17.6 million on lobbying.
To view a company's full lobbying profile click on the company link above or click here to access MapLight's full lobbying database.
Increase in Campaign Contributions:
Another provision buried deep in the bill would increase campaign contribution limits for donations to national political parties. Currently, individual donors cannot give more than $97,200 in total to the national party committees. The budget bill would raise that limit to $777,600. As the Center for Responsive Politics noted, the increase in contribution limits would affect very few people: just 0.04 percent of Americans gave more than $2,600 in the 2014 election cycle, let alone the three quarters of a million dollars the law would allow.
The Senate passed the spending bill on a 56-40 bipartisan vote on Saturday, December 13.
Campaign Contributions Methodology: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions to members of the House voting on H.R. 83 from top banks (Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase) from recently available FEC data as of December 12, 2014 for the period 1/1/2013-11/24/2014.
Lobbying Methodology: MapLight analysis of federal lobbying disclosure filings from the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. Lobbying totals represent money paid by an organization to each lobbying firm for services on all issues. Organizations report total lobbying expenses as a lump sum, which includes both in-house lobbying expenses and amounts paid to (and reported by) lobbying firms that they employ. MapLight calculates a given organization's in-house lobbying expenses by subtracting the total income reported by the lobbying firms that it employs from the company's total reported expenses. In general, filers may round their spending and expenses to the nearest $10,000, and we treat the designation of "Less than $5,000" as a value of $0. MapLight updates its lobbying database daily to capture amendments. Full reports are due on the 20th day of January, April, July, and October.
MapLight is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that tracks money's influence on politics.