Republican Congressman Personally Profits From Bank Bailout, Campaigns Against It

According to the Des Moines Register, Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) is on the campaign trail bashing the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) — the 2008 bank bailout — while owning a $1 million investment in bank that took TARP funds and, unlike many others, has yet to repay its loans:

U.S. Rep. Tom Latham has repeatedly criticized a federal program that bought stock to shore up banks during the financial crisis — yet he maintains an investment of more than $1 million in a bank holding company that benefited from the taxpayer assistance, a Des Moines Register review of public records shows. […]

Green Circle Investments Inc., where Latham was once a director, is the holding company for Peoples Trust & Savings Bank of Clive. The investors of Green Circle are made up mostly of Latham’s family and friends, who also are on the boards of both businesses, the congressman’s brother, Bob Latham, confirmed.

In 2009, Green Circle Investments accepted $2.4 million in TARP funds. It was one of nine Iowa financial institutions that participated in the Capital Purchase Program of TARP, and is one of three that have not repaid any of the principal on the loan, federal records show.

And he’s not the only one. A few months ago, the AP reported that Wisconsin Senate candidate Eric Hovde’s (R) company was investing in a bank that took TARP funds even as Hovde was campaigning against the bailout.

TARP, for all its warts, helped save the financial system, yet has become an easy target for politicians railing against bailouts. But even while that is going on, the financial industry has managed to buy off the Tea Party and right-wing Republicans, turning them into a reliable vote for bank interests.