The Bribe That Keeps on Giving

Wall Street executives have pleaded economic ruin, secured hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer assistance and been pilloried for their business excesses. But none of that has curbed their appetite for doling out political donations – or the willingness of politicians to accept the largesse.

A Washington Times analysis found that executives and employee-funded political action committees of banking companies that received bailout money have donated more than $2 million to members of Congress and other politicians since lawmakers approved the federal rescue of America’s financial system in October.

The PACs linked to the top 20 recipients of federal rescue funds have spent a combined $1.5 million on donations since Congress approved the bailout while employees of the top 10 recipients of bailout money have donated an additional $726,070, Federal Election Commission records showed.

The financial industry has long been a dominant political giver. For instance, executives of the top 10 bailout recipients gave $1.2 million in donations during the same period in 2004.

But their continued largesse since the bailout is a stark reminder that its executives still intend to play expensive politics even in the midst of a belt-tightening recession, analysts said.

“Taxpayers hope their money is being allocated entirely on the merits, but with Congress controlling how much money the Treasury gets to hand out, it will be impossible to completely exclude politics from this process,” said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that studies political giving.

Us middle class taxpayers don’t stand a chance. We can’t even scrape together a persuasive donation that equals a Congressman’s lunch tab. No bailout for us.

As for the PACS, I suppose you have to be nice to your benefactors, even if it means lining their pockets for favors.

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