Garrett Harris 6 p.m., March 5
Vargas backs bill that would allow big bank bailouts
In short time in Congress, he has received $14,500 from 4 major banks
The 2010 Dodd-Frank bill requires banks to spin off their derivatives activity into non-bank subsidiaries that can't rush to the government for a bailout if their gambling backfires, according to MapLight, a watchdog group that follows the money that special interests pour into the pockets of legislators. But H.R. 992, a bill in the hopper, would allow banks to get public funding for speculative derivatives activity, notes MapLight.
"A vote for H.R. 992 is a vote to expressly allow bailouts of our largest banks on Wall Street," says Americans for Financial Reform, a watchdog group focused on financial industry corruption. But H.R. 992 was approved by the House Agriculture Committee last month. Voting for the bill was Rep. Juan Vargas, Democrat of San Diego County, who was elected to the House last November and named to the Agriculture Committee in January. According to MapLight, Vargas has already collected $14,500 from the four biggest commercial banks (Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Citigroup), which among them have a whopping $208 trillion in notional value of derivatives contracts.
Since 2009, those four banks have given $313,000 to members of the House Agriculture Committee. Those who voted in favor of H.R. 992 got an average of $9,120, while those voting against got an average of $1,179, according to MapLight.
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