In the fourth quarter of 2011, Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) reported raising $388,895.26 in campaign contributions. According to a ThinkProgress analysis, at least 44 percent of that came from political action committees and individuals connected to real estate, insurance, banking, and finance industries — areas overseen by the House Financial Services committee Bachus chairs.
According to his latest disclosure, more than $173,000 of Bachus’ total haul came from the financial sector. Over the past quarter Bachus received at least:
— $144,805 from employees of and PACs for banks, financial services firms, and venture capitalists. This includes $7,500 from Wells Fargo’s corporate PAC, $5,000 from U.S. Bancorp’s PAC, $5,000 from UBS Americas’ PAC, and $5,000 from payday lender Advance America’s PAC. — $15,810 from insurance industry political action committees and from insurance agents for State Farm Insurance Co. — $12,500 from real estate PACs and individual real estate agents and realty investors.
In 2010, Bachus candidly admitted that he believes Washington’s role is “to serve the banks.” As chairman, he has sought to cut foreclosure prevention programs and to repeal many of the the key reforms in the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.
Bachus, now in his tenth term in Congress, has also been in hot water for his financial investments. In November, CBS News’ 60 Minutes reported that one day after receiving a private briefing from the nation’s chief economic officials on the extent of the financial crisis in 2008, Bachus bet that the stock market would tank, “buying option funds that would go up in value if the market went down” and netting about $28,000. After the report broke, Bachus attempted to seize the high ground by moving a bill to ban the sort of insider trading he was accused of, but Republican leaders blocked his effort. One colleague reportedly said at the time that House Republicans were “not going to cover Spencer’s ass by passing a half-baked bill.”
Bachus is term limited as chairman of the Financial Services Committee, and has said that he won’t seek a waiver to keep the seat in the next Congress.