At financial services firms, including hedge funds and major banks, contributions totaled more than $26 million over the past two election cycles to the Republican lawmakers who voted against a deal to reopen the government and avoid a first-ever debt default.
Employees and the political action committee of Goldman Sachs, which didn’t comment for this article, gave $1.06 million from 2009 to 2012 to the group of GOP lawmakers who voted against the deal. At Bank of America, which also declined to comment, contributions totaled $1.03 million. Hedge funds gave $1.7 million.
Although the ABA gave more to Republicans that voted against raising the debt ceiling, overall, financial-services firms contributed more to Republicans voting to lift the ceiling.
Before the vote to raise the debt ceiling last week, the president of the ABA was worried about politicians even threatening to default on the debt.
“It compromises the integrity, the certainty. It is going to dramatically raise interest rates,” Frank Keating told Bloomberg TV, adding: “This is just completely mad, as far as most of the community bank people are concerned, and I’m sure their customers and clients.”
Yet the ABA and financial-services companies have been pouring in support for some of the lawmakers who helped instigate the government shutdown and standoff over the debt ceiling.
James Ballentine, the ABA’s executive vice president of congressional relations and political affairs, said in a written response to questions that the banking lobby would review all of its contributions in 2014 “in a thoughtful and deliberative manner. “ But, he added: “We go through this process every election.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), whose 21-hour floor speech helped spark the crisis and who voted against the debt-ceiling deal, received $786,157 from financial services companies — more than the $705,657 he received from the Club for Growth. Cruz’s wife works at Goldman Sachs, whose PAC gave $5,000 to her husband in 2012.
Employees and political action committees at Honeywell, the manufacturing conglomerate, contributed nearly $2.1 million to last week’s naysayers while providing slightly less to yes-voting Republicans. At AT&T, contributions reached $1.9 million for no-voting members and $2.1 million for those voting “yes.”
Honeywell spokesman Rob Ferris said in a statement, “Honeywell’s political action committee supports those who support the policies that are most important to our business.” AT&T did not reply to a request for comment.
Club for Growth and Koch
The top donor to pro-default lawmakers overall was the Club for Growth, which gave $3.2 million. The third-biggest source of funds was Koch Industries, owned by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, with $2.1 million.
Club for Growth backed more of those who voted “no” to the deal than Republicans on the other side.
Koch industries has supported the election of many of the newer, more hard-line members, although the company took pains in recent days to say that it did not necessarily support the strategy of using a government shutdown or a default to pursue the defunding of the new health-care law.
Also on the list of entities supporting lawmakers effectively voting in favor of a debt default were trade associations such as the National Beer Wholesalers Association, which gave $1.8 million to Republicans who voted no and $1.5 million to those voting yes.
Rebecca Spicer, the beer group’s vice president for public affairs and communications, said the organization would continue to decide whom to support by looking “at each race individually and listening to beer distributors.”
Several Republican Party business allies said the dispute would encourage corporate money flowing to party primaries where it has seldom appeared in the past.
“This vote will create opportunities for mainstream Republican challengers to tea party candidates,” said one leading GOP fundraiser, who requested anonymity because of his position in the investment world.
Still, he said the episode is unlikely to motivate major Wall Street and corporate donors to abandon their overall support for the GOP. “They have zero alternative with Democrats,” he said.