May 10, 2012

Wall Street Doesn’t Think Michele Bachmann Is Fringe: Big Banks Like J.P. Morgan Support Her Bill To Repeal Financial Regulations

What do Jamie Dimon, chief executive of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., and Michele Bachmann, a conspiracy-obsessed representative from Minnesota, have in common?

Both support H.R. 87, Bachmman’s legislation that would repeal all major Wall Stret reforms passed in the wake of the financial crisis.

Though Bachmann has been cast as a fringe figure over her calls for violence over clean energy legislation, to her idea that the movie the Lion King is part of a gay propaganda campaign, and other extreme views, lobbying disclosures reveal that the big banks are lining up behind her bill:

— The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which spent $66 million lobbying last year, is pushing the Bachmann bill. The Chamber represents financial corporations including AIG and Prudential Financial.

— The American Bankers Association, which spent $8.8 million lobbying last year, is pushing the Bachmann bill. The ABA represents consumer banks, as well as big banks like J.P. Morgan and Wells Fargo.

— The Financial Services Roundtable, which spent $7.6 million lobbying last year, is pushing the Bachmann bill. The FSR represents investment banks, including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

There’s a common misperception that extremists like Bachmann are given a platform and financial support only from very ideological plutocrats like the Koch brothers, or perhaps from shock jocks like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.

But she also enjoys support the entire financial services industry, from Jamie Dimon’s J.P. Morgan to Lloyd Blankfein’s Goldman Sachs. Major white shoe firms have lined up to support Bachmann’s effort to roll back all recently enacted reforms. She’s even received over $338,000 in donations from the finance industry.

Bachmann isn’t the only fringe politician supported by big business. This week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which represents companies like AIG and Coca-Cola, began airing an undisclosed corporate attack ad against Congressman Allen West’s (R-FL) opponent. West, who was caught torturing an Iraqi prisoner while in service, has said dozens of Democratic lawmakers are secret members of the Communist Party.