Business Leaders Terrified That GOP Representatives They Helped Fund May Force Default


As the clock continues to tick on the debt ceiling crisis, a number of big business leaders are sounding the alarm about the “catastophic” impact a default would have on the U.S. economy. But many of them were the same people who have helped elect and re-elect the Republican House majority that is holding a debt-limit increase hostage to its political demands.

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) said this weekend that his caucus was “not going to pass a clean debt limit increase.” But while the House GOP seems content to risk an unprecedented debt limit crisis, business leaders are not.

According to a Bloomberg report, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Lloyd C. Blankfein, Morgan Stanley’s James Gorman, and Fifth Third Bancorp CEO Bill Isaac were among a growing number of CEOs warning of the disastrous consequences such a move could have. “We can’t even imagine all the things that might happen,” Isaac noted, and “it would create chaos in financial markets.” The largest trade group representing American business, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, also joined with 250 other business organizations to demand immediate passage of a clean debt limit increase to “remove any threat to the full faith and credit of the United States government.”

A ThinkProgress review of campaign contribution records provided by the Center for Responsive Politics reveals that while each of those entities gave money to candidates from both parties, the bulk of their spending since 2009 went to Republicans and helped more than 130 of the 232-member House GOP majority:

Goldman Sachs: 105 current House Republicans have received a total of $856,000 from the Goldman Sachs Group’s political action committee. Additionally, company CEO Blankfein gave at least $5,000 to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) leadership PAC.

Morgan Stanley: 53 current House Republicans have received a total of more than $317,000 from the Morgan Stanley political action committee.

Fifth Third Bancorp: 37 current House Republicans have received a total of more than $100,000 from the Fifth Third Bancorp political action committee. CEO Isaac has also given at least $1,000 to Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), $6,800 to Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL), and $11,000 to Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) leadership PAC.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce: 39 current House Republicans have received a total of more than $103,675 from the U.S. Chamber PAC. The Chamber also made more than $1.4 million in combined independent expenditures attacking Democrats running against Reps. Chris Collins (R-NY), Rodney Davis (R-IL), and Jeff Denham (R-CA).

In total, these groups spent upward of $2.8 million to help elect the Republican majority.