Friday, Feb 03, 2023

U.S. banks cut donations to federal candidates, up Democrats' share ahead of mid-terms

U.S. banks cut donations to federal candidates, up Democrats' share ahead of mid-terms

U.S. banks are giving far less to federal candidates this election cycle and increasing the proportion they are handing to Democrats as they rethink their political giving, according to a Reuters analysis of data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) and more than half a dozen industry officials and lobbyists.

With less than a month to go until the mid-term elections which will determine control of Congress, commercial banks' political action committees (PACs) have given roughly $7.4 million to federal candidates, 43% down on the 2020 election cycle and 39% down on the average election spend in the previous decade, according to the Reuters analysis.

Following the 2007-09 financial crisis when Democrats cracked down on banks, lenders have typically looked to business-friendly Republicans for support in Congress.

But while they are getting less cash overall, Democrats have increased their share of the pie this cycle to 40%, their highest proportion since the 2010 cycle. And of the top-20 congressional recipients of bank PAC donations this cycle, 10 are Democrats compared with six in 2020, three in 2018, and one ahead of the 2016 election. The CRP data draws from data released by the Federal Election Commission as of Sept. 22.

The shift in giving patterns shows how banks are rethinking their allegiances amid increased political partisanship. A key turning point was the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol when supporters of Republican former President Donald Trump forcefully prevent Congress from certifying Democratic President Joe Biden's election win. Hours later, 147 Republicans voted to overturn Biden's victory, which Trump falsely claimed was tainted by fraud.

It also suggests the industry is trying to court more Democrats as Republicans grow angry with lenders for embracing what they say are liberal causes.

"The vote on the election really caused people to open their eyes a little bit do a closer evaluation of individuals that a PAC may have been supporting just because they supported [the industry]in the past," said James Ballentine, CEO of government relations firm Ballentine Strategies and until April a top lobbyist for the American Bankers Association which runs the biggest industry PAC.

To be sure, the party in power commonly enjoys a bounce in donations and banks are also spreading their bets ahead of a tightening contest, said Ballentine and the other sources.

Republicans have a 70% chance of winning the House of Representatives while Democrats are favorites to retain control of the Senate, according to poll-tracker

Since Jan. 6, many lenders have felt pressure from employees, who fund the PACs, to reduce giving to Republicans, the sources said.

Several banks, including JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N), Citigroup (C.N), Bank of America (BAC.N) and Morgan Stanley, paused some or all PAC donations as they reviewed their strategies, which likely helps account for the decline in overall spend.

Bank of America and Morgan Stanley have each so far this cycle donated more to Democrats than Republicans for the first time in over a decade. Citigroup's contributions are evenly split for the first time. JPMorgan is still giving more to Republicans, but at the smallest margin in over a decade.

Spokespeople for the banks either declined to, or did not respond to requests for, comment.


Lenders are also under pressure from staff and shareholders to support lawmakers active on issues beyond finance, such as addressing the racial wealth gap and education, according to several sources.

The top Democratic congressional recipient of bank PAC money, for example, is Joyce Beatty, who chairs the House Financial Services panel's subcommittee on diversity and inclusion, an issue which banks have loudly championed.

That trend, combined with some banks shunning election objectors, has left the industry with fewer Republican allies overall, a dynamic that was on display when CEOs of the nation's largest banks appeared before Congress last month. They were skewered by some Republicans for their policies on doing business with gun companies and operating in China.

"It's a challenging spot to figure out who your allies are," said Brian Gardner, chief Washington policy strategist at Stifel Financial Corp. "The days when the largest banks could rely on Republicans for some level of defense, I think those days are over."

Nevertheless, banks are still courting Republicans. Nine of the top 10 recipients of industry donations are Republicans, including Representative Patrick McHenry who is likely to chair the House finance panel if Republicans win that chamber.

Spokespeople for Beatty and McHenry did not respond to requests for comment.

"Banks that are active givers to political campaigns are hedging their bets," said Camden Fine, the former head of trade group the Independent Community Bankers of America and political consultant.


Related Articles

EU found a way to use frozen Russian funds
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he will block Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from serving on the House Intelligence Committee
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Germany confirms it will provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
US imposes Covid testing for visitors from China
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Joint Session of Congress - FULL SPEECH
Where is Rishi? Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's excuses about the UK's economic challenges just don't make sense
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges
Corruption works: House Financial Services Chair Waters doesn't plan to subpoena her donor, Sam Bankman-Fried, to testify at hearing on FTX collapse
Ronaldo's new contract...
Prince William's godmother resigns honorary royal role after exposing her/their racism
Tax fraud verdict again exposes illusion of Trump the master businessman
Tax fraud verdict again exposes illusion of Trump the master businessman.
Yellen hints at ‘national security’ probe into Twitter purchase