Incoming House Financial Services Chair Saw Dramatic Increase in Wall Street Cash in 2012

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Texas Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R) is expected to become the next chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and, as Slate reported this week, he’ll spend that chairmanship trying to “gut the Dodd-Frank financial reforms.” Hensarling's 66 percent increase in fundraising this cycle, for a race he knew he'd win handily, was fueled by the Wall Street interests who would benefit from his efforts to weaken Dodd-Frank. 

In the 2012 cycle, Hensarling and his leadership political action committee (PAC) took at least $1.6 million from the finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE) sector, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That’s a 33 percent increase from the $1.2 million he received from the industry in 2010. His top contributors included the PAC and employees of JPMorgan ($39,500), Visa ($24,000), and New York Life Insurance ($23,500).

The conventional wisdom about the 2012 election has gelled around “see, money can’t buy elections,” due to conservative super PACs inability to cinch the presidency or any Senate seats. Hensarling’s dramatic increase in Wall Street cash heading into his new chairmanship shows that this win/loss analysis is too simple. Or, as Heather McGhee wrote for the American Prospect:

"Today, November 7th, the real game begins—when those who purchased a full term of access to their favored candidate begin to exercise an undemocratic advantage over the millions of Americans who merely voted, to shape the laws and regulations that are written for all of us."

In 2010, right after the current financial services chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) was re-elected, he said his job in Congress was to “serve the banks.” Hensarling appears poised to follow in Bachus’s footsteps.