Sen. Scott Brown’s (R-MA) surprise election in January may not have been possible without the help of Wall Street’s “largest political enforcers.” The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent $1 million on television ads backing Brown and boasted about its “influence” in the race. After the election, the Chamber proudly said that Brown’s election would “allow Republicans to block legislation” the business lobby opposed. Wall Street front groups FreedomWorks and Club for Growth also mobilized get out the vote efforts and strongly “boost[ed]” Brown’s campaign.
Moreover, as a ThinkProgress analysis revealed, business and Wall Street executives lavished Brown’s campaign coffers with over $200,000 in 11th hour contributions — nearly half of his total haul over that period.
Now, Brown seems to be returning the favor. As the Senate prepares to take up Sen. Chris Dodd’s (D-CT) financial regulatory reform bill, Brown said “in his strongest statement yet” that he “can’t support it.” While Brown said he is still “open” to working on a bipartisan bill, he seemed befuddled when asked how the bill could win his support:
Brown, whose vote could be critical as Democrats seek to find a GOP member to avoid a filibuster, assiduously avoided talking about specifics.
When asked what areas he thought should be fixed, he replied: “Well, what areas do you think should be fixed? I mean, you know, tell me. And then I’ll get a team and go fix it.”
Brown is hardly the only Republican to take money from Wall Street while opposing financial reform. His lack of ideas on how to improve the bill underscores the fact that many in his party seem more interested in stopping reform than negotiating a compromise.
It’s ironic that Brown would toe Wall Street’s line so dependably, considering that a majority of his voters said they were motivated by a belief “that Democratic policies were doing more to help Wall Street than Main Street.”