Campaign finance records show that Specter is Wall Street’s favourite Republican, and voting records show why…Let’s begin with the Great Wall Street Bailout of last fall—the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Specter aims to win some populist points by attacking [his primary election competitor Congressman Pat] Toomey as a “banker,” but Toomey and the Club for Growth opposed the TARP last fall, even while Republican Party leaders in both chambers, presidential nominee John McCain, and some conservative think tanks and columnists embraced it.
Specter, of course voted for the bill. Even though Specter rightly fretted allowed that it was being passed without proper scrutiny, he ultimately deferred to the experts that this massive injection of government into the industry was necessary to save the economy. Those “experts” also happened to be his donors.
Specter received more Wall Street cash in the 2004 cycle—his last election—than any other sitting GOP Senator. He was 6th among all senators, right behind Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and just ahead of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., according to the centre for Responsive Politics’ breakdown of the “securities and investment” industry’s giving.
Even in the 2008 cycle, when he wasn’t up for reelection, Specter ranked 7th among Senate Republican recipients of Wall Street money, pulling in more money from this industry in the past two years than did either senators Saxby Chambliss or Elizabeth Dole, who were both caught up in tough reelection battles.
The Democrats’ favourite charge against Republicans—that they are too cozy with big business—is in reality equally true for both parties. But Specter is perhaps the coziest Republican with Wall Street.
Look at the other big business-big government votes of the last year, and you’ll never find Specter defying big business. Expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Plan at the request of the HMOs: Specter was with the HMOs and Barack Obama.
Obama’s massive stimulus bill backed by the Chamber of Commerce: Specter again sided with the Democratic White House and the big business lobby. The Detroit bailout vote last December: Specter cast his lot with General Motors. The Lieberman-Warner climate change bill: Specter took General Electric’s side in favour of the regulations.
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