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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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MURPHYJUNK April 4, 2013 @ 10:48 a.m.

$14.5 k is a bargin in the buying influence racket these days.


Don Bauder April 4, 2013 @ 11:17 a.m.

Murphyjunk: Well, Vargas has only been on the committee since January, so it's a pretty good sum. Best, Don Bauder


Visduh April 4, 2013 @ 11:53 a.m.

Vargas has always had it both ways. A make-believe populist who solicits the big bucks where he can get them, and then votes with the big bucks. Or have I been seeing something in Matt Potter's columns that just wasn't there?


Don Bauder April 4, 2013 @ 12:37 p.m.

Visduh: Matt has covered Vargas very well, and his columns bear out exactly what you are saying; Vargas rakes in the big bucks and pays his donors back with votes, but talks the populist game. Best, Don Bauder


Sjtorres April 5, 2013 @ 11:08 a.m.

Juan Vargas has abandoned his job as Representative of the people, and has spent 99% of his time raising money for himself and his buddies and engaging in quid pro quo political money favors. Don't be surprised if he is busted by the FBI some day. He's very unscrupulous.


Don Bauder April 5, 2013 @ 12:17 p.m.

Sjtorres: Did Vargas ever represent the people? It seems to me that he has been for sale since the day he entered politics. Best, Don Bauder


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