If anyone thought Congressman Cline was serious when he talked about “draining the swamp” in Washington, here’s the latest:
The campaign of Virginia GOP Rep. Ben Cline [held] a financial services industry breakfast Tuesday. Cline is not on the House Financial Services panel, but Republican Rep. Sean P. Duffy of Wisconsin is, and he’s promised as a special guest at the breakfast. House Financial Services has a markup scheduled this week on a bill to overhaul the U.S. Export Finance Agency and a measure to require carbon monoxide detectors in some federal housing.
You won’t read anything about it on Cline’s website, Facebook page or Twitter feed, but the invitation for the breakfast on Capitol Hill asked for donations from political action committees of $1,000 or $2,500, and from individuals of $500 or $1,500 to Ben Cline for Congress Inc. The arrangements were handled by Republican fundraising consultant Laura Kilgore McMenamin of Alexandria, who also helped raise money for former Congressman Bob Goodlatte. For her services, she has received $148,248 from Goodlatte and $77,568 from Cline.
We’ll probably have to wait until after the Federal Election Commission’s June 30 filing deadline, but it will be interesting to see who attended the breakfast and how much they gave.
In the meantime I have emailed Cline asking for that information, and about the legislation that was discussed.
According to OpenSecrets.org:
The financial sector is far and away the largest source of campaign contributions to federal candidates and parties, with insurance companies, securities and investment firms, real estate interests and commercial banks providing the bulk of that money.
The sector contributed generous sums to both parties until 2010 when donations began to heavily bias Republicans, which likely reflects the finance industry’s interest in overturning the financial regulations from the Dodd-Frank Act, implemented to protect consumers from predatory lending practices and risky financial decisions from the industry. In 2014, the industry as a whole contributed half a billion dollars to candidate and party committees, PACs as well as outside spending groups; 62 percent of the funds given to candidates and parties went to Republicans. In 2012, the giving was even higher (as is the trend with presidential cycles) at $687,000; nearly 70 percent of the candidate and party gifts went to the GOP.
For Cline’s 2018 campaign for Congress, banking and financial interests were among the most generous donors, including:
–American Bankers Association ($2,500)
–Wells Fargo ($2,500)
–Genworth Financial ($1,000)
–Capital One ($1,000)
As a member of the House of Delegates, Cline was pleased to receive more than $27,000 in donations from predatory payday and car-title loan companies that exploit the financially desperate, including TitleMax and Check into Cash.