Scott Brown & The Big Banks: On The Take or Just Coincidental Timing?

If a corporate sector gave a legislator a ton of money in contributions, and then the legislator went out and fought for regulatory and fee breaks for that sector and those corporations, what would you call it?

Perhaps you’d call it a Scott Brown fundraiser:

Campaign contributions to Senator Scott Brown from the financial industry spiked sharply during a critical three-week period last summer as the fate of the Wall Street regulatory overhaul hung in the balance and Brown used the leverage of his swing vote to win key concessions sought by firms.

From mid-June until the Fourth of July, according to a Globe analysis of his campaign finance reports, the Massachusetts senator took in $140,000 from banks and investment firms and their executives, including companies based in the state, such as MassMutual and State Street Corp. That is 400 percent more than the $28,000 received on average by all Republican senators during the same three weeks.

As the money poured in, Brown and his Senate staff were working both publicly and behind the scenes to scuttle $19 billion in fees on the financial industry that would have paid for part of the regulatory overhaul, and to weaken a provision intended to curb certain types of investment activities by banks and insurance companies.

“As the money poured in,” Brown did the bidding of his financial benefactors, using his public office to do favors for a special interest. Isn’t that a quid pro quo? And it sounds like a pretty great deal for the big banks – $140,000 in contributions to Brown in exchange for $19 billion in fee cuts and additional deregulation.

RMGers, is that good governance on Brown’s part? Is this dynamic between Brown and the big banks perfectly OK because Brown has an R next to his name?

About ConcernedVoterInMass

  • MerrimackMan

    Sure, if Brown was working “Quid Pro Quo” for the financial industry, that would be very concerning. The Globe points out correlations between his donations and activity and suggests that this may be the case. First of all, correlations don’t prove anything in science. This whole argument rests upon an unproven assumption that Sen. Brown did certain things because he recieved donations.

    However, Sen. Brown could have simply been following his own ideological convictions in dealing with the financial reform act, and the financial industry could have chosen to donate to him in support of his actions, as they are free to do so. After all, he recieved $450,000 in the six days leading up to his election, when it was already clear he would defeat AG Martha Coakley. In this sense, the financial industry donated to him not to take certain positions or to run for Senate, but because he already asserted himself as someone who would fight for continued American economic success, something the financial industry greatly appreciates. He wasn’t being guided by the finanical industry, they merely liked what he was already saying. After all, Sen. Brown in January suggested that he would oppose all new taxes and fees in regards to the general taxation of Americans and in the health care reform bill. Why would he not extend this principle to the financial reform bill?

    This is the same defense that nearly every other politician relies upon in regards to contributions from special interests or corporations. They are going to do what they are going to do anyway, why not accept the support from those that agree with their convictions? So if Brown is guilty of a Quid Pro Quo, then so are all politicians in Washington.

    The only thing we learn from this article that is clear and indisputable is that Sen. Brown’s opinions are supported enough by Wall Street that he has recieved $1.35 Million in contributions from the finanical industry. Big Deal. As the article points out, the two Senators from New York, both Democrats recieved nearly twice and four times as much as he did from the financial industry. As a result, its not as if the financial industry contributions are indicative of some extreme partisan positioning of Sen. Brown, as if more conservative Republicans are more supported by the financial industry.

    Finally, the article points out Sen. Brown’s work to remove fees and regulation from the bill and suggests it was a sort of behind the scenes work by him and his Senate office. The fact is, this was not something that was hidden from the public at all. Sen. Brown in late June made it public that he opposed the onerous taxes and regulations that the bill contained. After all, if those $19 Billion in fee cuts and deregulation were so necesary and popular amongst the Democrats, they could have refused to pass a bill without them. The reality is, they passed the financial reform act without them, and it was highly celebrated as a success by Obama and Congressional Democrats like Barney Frank.

    Give me a break.

  • what Mumbles and Deval do to keep Liberty Mutual and State Street in Boston? Do you know how many people they employ? How much tax revenue they provide? How important their services are? How much they donate to charity? How much they mean to the community?

    Or they just a handful of bad guys to you. A board of rich white guys pilfering the “little guy”. Warped minds.

  • Scott Brown took the position against the fees on finance institutions during his debates with Martha Coakley well before the debate in the Senate took place. His position then and now was that the fees would just be passed onto the consumer. For the Globe or anyone else to suggest that Scott Brown was only against the fees because some firms were making donations to him is simply intellectually dishonest.

  • bill screws community banks and consumers. helps most of the big guys who corrupted our system and needed to be bailed out. Fact is Scott could have been 41 on this one and make a difference. So Fidelity got a favor in the bill. Big deal, that is problem with Washington. Dont look at the big picture, buy off whose votes you need with some goody for your states interests. They did it with TARP, did it with the Bailouts now this. This was what Scott campaigned on and it appears to this blogger he was bought off for some lousy campaign cash.

    BTW her really dissappointed me by voting against Vitter Amendment earlier after saying in his campaign he would not only vote for but co sponsor Audit the Fed legislation.

  • …some Republican did something and you hate Republicans?