Politics always makes for strange bedfellows and Wall Street is sleeping soundly with several elected officials. The largest bank in the U.S., JP Morgan Chase sends campaign checks to top Democrats Kyrsten Sinema, D-AZ, and Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.
Sinema, 45, has been accused of acting like a conservative and threatening “to derail the whole Democratic agenda, insisting on archaic Senate rules that give Mitch McConnell and the Republicans outsized power,” The Daily Beast reported.
The senior U.S. senator from Arizona since January 2019, Sinema serves on subcommittees for National Security and International Trade and Finance, and Securities, Insurance, and Investment. In January, Arizona’s Democratic Party voted to censure her over her opposition to changing the filibuster. She was also under scrutiny when her net worth ballooned from $35,000 to $1 million in less than five years.
Meanwhile, Jeffries, 51, has served since 2013 as the U.S. representative for New York’s 8th congressional district which includes parts of Eastern Brooklyn and Southwestern Queens in New York City.
Both campaigns for Sinema and Jeffries have accepted donations from the bank. Chase CEO Jamie Dimon was among a group of executives from his bank who contributed to Sinema’s reelection campaign in the first quarter of 2022, CNBC reported.
Some say such donations might influence her votes. She voted, for example, against certain pieces of President Biden’s agenda, including raising corporate taxes from 21 percent to 28 percent.
According to Sinema’s latest Federal Election Commission filing, Dimon donated $2,900 to her campaign in February. Other J.P. Morgan executives also made personal donations to her political organization.
In February, Mary Erdoes, the CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase’s Asset & Wealth Management line of business, gave $2,900 to Sinema’s campaign. A vice chairman at the bank, Robert Baynard, gave $2,000 to her campaign in late January.
Sinema’s leadership PAC, which is called Getting Stuff Done, received $5,000 from the bank’s PAC late last year. She raised more than $1.6 million last quarter, and her campaign has about $7 million on hand.
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A spokeswoman for J.P. Morgan said that Dimon also donated to the campaigns of Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., Senators Tim Scott, R-S.C., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C.
Big business has always gotten friendly with politicians. In the 2019–20 election cycle, Wall Street banks and financial services interests reported spending $2.9 billion to influence decision-making in Washington, D.C. That total officially reported expenditure on campaign contributions and lobbying works out to $4 million a day, according to a report from the Americans for Financial Reform.
Americans for Financial Reform is a progressive nonprofit that advocates for financial reform in the U.S. as well as stricter regulation of Wall Street.
In the last election cycle, the financial services industry boosted spending on politics to its highest level ever, 50 percent more than the previous record of $2 billion in the 2015-2016 presidential cycle.
Jeffries ranked No. 14 for “Top Recipients of Financial Sector Contributions in the House of Representatives (Candidates Elected to the 117th Congress) 2019–20 Election Cycle” with $1,486,634 in donations.
Pro-Israel interests were among the top industries to contribute to Jeffries’ campaign with $350,800 donated, according to OpenSecrets, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C. that tracks campaign finance and lobbying data. The top contributor was Pro-Israel America PAC with $213,450 donated. The No. 2 top industry to donate to Jeffries’ 2021-2022 campaign was securities and investment, with $306,364 in donations.
Photos: Kyrsten Sinema by Gage Skidmore, Oct. 24, 2018, https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ Hakeem Jeffries by Edward Kimmel, Feb. 25, 2015, https://www.flickr.com/photos/mdfriendofhillary/