Unapologetic CEOs: What Did the Banks Do With Your Cash?

In the 2008 election cycle, House Financial Services Committee members received more than $26 million in campaign donations from the finance, insurance, and real estate sector, including $5.3 million from the securities and investment industry and $3.3 million from commercial banking, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Part of that $26 million is $984,148 that Frank received, including $224,000 from the securities and investment industry and $110,000 from commercial banks. Almost $2 million that the committee members received came from the very eight banks represented at the hearing, the center states.

Their report states that these financial institutions gave a total of $1.8 million to committee lawmakers in the 2008 election cycle.

The chairman himself, Frank, received $63,250 from these banks. Ranking member Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., almost doubled that sum, having collected $116,950.

Over time, one bank alone, JP Morgan, has given Bachus more than $96,000. Frank has received more funds from JP Morgan than any other company, union, or organization since 1989.

But Bachus and Frank are not alone in their dealings with these companies. A total of 18 committee lawmakers have their own personal funds invested in the eight banks at the hearing.

In all, the 111th Congress had between $12.7 million and $25.8 million invested in these firms in 2007.

When policymakers were designing the TARP bill, Frank intervened to secure money for a home-state bank, OneUnited Bank in Boston, the Wall Street Journal reported.

"At no point did I ask federal officials or bank regulators for any relaxation in the oversight of the banks or withhold any decision given the bank's activities," Frank said in a statement. "I continue to believe that the existence of minority owned banks is an important social goal and our communities will suffer without them."

Banks Spend on Lobbying and Campaign Contributions

The Center for Responsive Politics also found that the companies receiving TARP funds had spent a total of $114 million last year in an effort to curry federal favor. The government watchdog group's report showed these companies spent $77 million on lobbying and $37 million on federal campaign contributions and later received $295 billion from the TARP.

"Even in the best economic times, you won't find an investment with a greater payoff than what these companies have been getting," said Sheila Krumholz, executive director at the center.

According to the report, JP MorganChase spent about $10.1 million combined on lobbying and campaign contributions, Citigroup approximately $12.4 million, and Bank of America about $14.5 million, including data for Merrill Lynch, which it acquired last year.

New Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner recently said that in the future, companies that receive TARP funds won't be allowed to lobby the government.

But Geithner has also come in for criticism as he seeks to revive the embattled program launched under his predecessor Henry Paulson.

Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., questioned whether the former chairman of the Federal Reserve in New York can improve the program because he "had a seat at the table when all this original TARP was designed."

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