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These Banks Gave Millions to Congress and Saved Billions In Taxes

April 20, 2018 | Adam Smith

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Six Wall Street banks that saved billions last quarter due to tax legislation signed by President Trump and passed by Republicans in Congress in 2017, spent millions to influence those same politicians last year, according to Every Voice analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

The Associated Press reported this morning that “the nation’s six big Wall Street banks saved at least $3.59 billion in taxes last quarter, thanks to the recently enacted Trump tax law.” That’s a lot more than $1.50.

In the past year alone, those banks and their executives– JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America–have spent at least $27,000,000 to influence Congress and the administration through lobbying and campaign contributions.

Links to political spending by JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America.

 Bank of America also gave $1,000,000 to Trump’s inauguration committee and JPMorgan gave $500,000.

This Wall Street windfall shouldn’t surprise anyone. Last year as Republicans were muscling the tax bill through Congress, they didn’t hide the fact that pleasing donors and corporate interests was the key reason for passing it. Sen. Lindsey Graham said “the financial contributions will stop” if the tax bill wasn’t passed. Rep. Chris Collins said a donor told him, “Get it done or don’t ever call me again.” Donors were openly threatening to withhold campaign cash until the bill passed (and then opened their wallets after it did).

And now, we’re seeing the results: Big Wall Street banks making billions, while most Americans aren’t seeing much of a difference.

The tax bill is what happens in a political system that puts the power of big money ahead of regular people. We know our democracy is out of balance when politicians admit to passing a bill while under pressure from big donors, instead of standing up for what’s in the interests of everyday constituents. We need legislation like the Government By the People Act that would reduce the power of wealthy campaign contributors and lift up the voices of ordinary people by matching small donations.

Small donor public financing programs are working in cities and states across the country, allowing a more diverse set of candidates to run for office while reducing the power of big money and lobbyists.

If you’re angry about this massive handout to corporate and wealthy donors, then it’s time to email your elected leaders and demand they support the Government By the People Act.

Adam Smith

Adam Smith is Every Voice's communications director.