In January, the Supreme Court struck down a decades-long ban on the use of corporate money in elections with its decision in Citizens United, opening the floodgates to unlimited, anonymous spending on political campaigns by corporations, unions, and advocacy organizations. Democratic lawmakers condemned the ruling for allowing corporations unprecedented levels of influence in political campaigns and quickly began drafting the DISCLOSE Act — legislation that seeks to secure more transparency by holding corporations to a number of disclosure rules. Senate Republicans voted en masse to filibuster the bill and effectively killed it.
Republicans also attempted to obstruct the Democrats’ financial reform bill which passed last month with the support of just three Senate Republicans. Because of their willingness to always stand on the side of corporations, Republicans are being rewarded by big business. The Financial Times reports on a Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) study:
Wall Street executives are donating nearly 70 per cent of their political contributions to Republican candidates ahead of November’s mid-term elections, representing a significant shift in allegiances across an industry that has in recent history heavily favoured Democrats. [...]
Wall Street executives began favouring Republicans over Democrats in December of last year, but the month of June marked the largest gap between donations to the two parties and federal candidates. The shift coincided with the intense debate on Capitol Hill over financial services reform, legislation that was passed in July.
This graph from the CRP shows the percentage of Wall Street dollars flowing to each party (click to expand):
Wall Street’s apparent aversion to the financial reform law is encouraging. The Wonk Room’s Pat Garofalo, commenting on the legislation back in June, wrote, “[the] bill has many strong provisions that will help create a safer, more stable, and fairer financial system that does far more than the current one to protect consumers and rein in Wall Street excess.” It seems that the financial industry feels the same way and is now rewarding Republicans who immediately called for repealing the new regulations.