The Politics of Banking and the Banking of Politics

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It’s well known that at least a piece of the TARP gets funnelled right back into Washington DC when banks donate to politicians. So which lawmakers are connected to which bailed out institutions. The centre for Computational Legal studies has created a stunning visualisation tracking TARP recipients’ political contributions to the members of the 110th Congress.

It’s visually arresting and a very cool way to see all the interconnections. David Zaring at the Conglomerate points out that banks are pretty equal opportunity donors to politics, giving to both parties at pretty similar levels. Some banks, however, are slightly more red than blue and some more blue than red.

Here’s a partial list

  • Republican leaning banks: JPMorganChase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, BofA, Merrill Lynch.
  • Democrat leaning banks: Goldman Sachs.

That probably won’t come as a shock to most people. But what might is the fact that the Democrat leaning banks, boosted by Goldman’s hefty campaign contributions, give more than the Republican leaning banks.

As the image we’ve excerpted from the chart suggests,  the centre of a lot of things are the biggest TARP recipients and Senator Chris Dodd.

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