At 8PM tonight, KET will host a debate between 6th District Congressional candidates Andy Barr and Elisabeth Jensen. The two campaigns are both gathering supporters for pre-debate rallies in the KET parking lot starting at 6PM.
The debate comes one day after the Lexington Herald Leader endorsed Ms. Jensen in the race. There’s little doubt that the Barr campaign will try to spin that as a liberal rag endorsing one of their own but that argument struggles against reality since on the same day they endorsed Elisabeth Jensen, the paper also endorsed Republican incumbent for life Hal Rogers in the 5th.
In their endorsement of Elisabeth Jensen, the Herald Leader cited Andy Barr’s sellout politics. Rather than protecting the voters of the 6th District whom he represent, Barr has chosen to service his big campaign donors:
In the area where Barr has the most clout, as a member of the House Financial Services Committee, Jensen is focused on protecting consumers while Barr’s overriding interest is reducing government regulation.
Barr, for example, is trying to block a Justice Department crackdown on the practice of online payday lenders making illegal, unauthorized withdrawals from borrowers’ bank accounts, often causing overdrafts.
Barr had taken in $334,666 from finance and Wall Street interests, including payday lenders, as of June 30, helping give his campaign a huge funding advantage.
This will no doubt be a topic of discussion — and Barr’s stance here is not helped by last week’s revelation that Andy Barr is one of the biggest defenders of Predatory Payday Lenders in Washington, DC.
As the Herald Leader noted in their endorsement of Jensen, Garland H. Barr IV has taken $334,666 from finance and Wall Street interests as of June. Over the weekend, we took a look the amount Barr has taken from Predatory Payday Lenders and, including his new totals from the most recent reporting period which ended on September 30th, Andy Barr has accepted at least $30,000 from these Predatory Loan Sharks.
But what about Wall Street? Andy Barr’s dalliances with the Too Big To Fail banks and investment firms and hedge funders who nearly destroyed the U.S. economy in 2008 is well documented… but how much more has he taken from them since June?
A quick look at his most recent FEC report reveals an additional $67,000 from the Too Big To Fail Banks, investment firms and Big Insurance companies which Andy Barr oversees from his position on the House Financial Services Committee:
- $3,500 from the American Financial Services Association
- $500 from Branch Bank & Trust in Wilmington, NC
- $2,000 from the Chicago Board Options PAC
- $3,000 from Citigroup, Inc. PAC
- $1,000 from Deloitte PAC
- $2,000 from PNC Financial Services Group
- $500 from Fifth Third Bancorp PAC
- $1,000 from FMR LLC PAC (that’s Fidelity Investments)
- $2,000 from JP Morgan Chase PAC
- $1,000 from Mastercard PAC
- $2,000 from MetLife PAC (which is overseen in part by Barr’s Financial Services Committee)
- $1,000 from Morgan Stanley PAC
- $2,000 from the Mortgage Bankers PAC
- $4,000 from New York Life Insurance PAC (which is overseen in part by Barr’s Financial Services Committee)
- $2,000 from the Oppenheimer Fund PAC
- $2,000 from Regions Financial PAC
- $3,000 from Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association PAC
- $2,000 from Supporting Conservatives of Today and Tomorrow PAC, a campaign committee funded almost exclusively by banks and investment firms
- $1,000 from Vanguard Group PAC
- $1,500 from US Bancorp PAC
- $4,000 from UBS Americas PAC
- $2,000 from Wells Fargo PAC
The number of those groups that got bailed out by the government following the economic collapse and/or have been implicated in the preceding and succeeding financial scandals from suspect mortgage lending to LIBOR price fixing is, well, overwhelming. This is where Andy Barr’s money comes from and this is who Andy Barr works for — Wall Street and the Investment and Banking firms he is supposed to oversee.
Among the individual donors to Andy Barr’s campaign since the end of June, there is only more of the same:
The $10,400 from the Blackstone Group is notable because Blackstone is under intense scrutiny for its “investment” in the Kentucky Retirement System (see here, here, here) and their deep pocketed contributions to Mitch McConnell’s campaign (here).
The $11,600 from Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft is a whole ‘nother can of worms. Cadwalader earlier this year hosted a fundraiser for Andy Barr at their headquarters in lower Manhattan, but these additional donations come after Andy Barr’s birthday bash in Washington DC where Barr was feted by Wall Street lobbyists. Cadwalader has argued heavily for unfettered access by the Too Big to Fail Banks to the “collateralized loan” market which even some prominent investment types view as a bubble ready to burst, and which has been described in the business press as bundled “junk rated corporate loans in top rated securities.”
Here’s what just part of what the Herald Leader reported last month on Andy Barr’s ties to Cadwalader:
Several of Barr’s campaign donors who are lobbying for his CLO bill declined to comment last week, including Citigroup, JPMorgan and the Wall Street financial advisory firm of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. Cadwalader hosted a campaign fund-raising luncheon for Barr at its New York office on March 24, a month after a Cadwalader partner, Neil Weidner, spoke to lawmakers in favor of an early draft of Barr’s CLO bill.
“Without significant changes to these regulatory initiatives, we are deeply concerned about the sustainability of the CLO industry,” Weidner testified Feb. 26 before the House Subcommittee on Capital Markets. Weeks later, he donated $2,600 to Barr’s campaign.
Cadwalader, which works for many of the nation’s largest banks, won about $19 million in legal contracts from the $700 billion federal bank bailout in 2008. It later was criticized by the bailout’s special inspector general, who questioned nearly $2 million of the firm’s fees and expenses, citing vague billing that made it impossible to determine “whether these charges were reasonable and therefore allowable.”
The Herald Leader reported yesterday that Andy Barr “had taken in $334,666 from finance and Wall Street interests, including payday lenders, as of June 30.”
Since June 30th, Andy Barr has accepted an additional $67,000 from the finance industry and another $8,000 from the Predatory Payday Loan industry. That’s an additional $75,000, bringing that total to at least $409,666 as of the end of September. There’s no telling yet how much more they are pouring into Andy’s pockets at this moment.
The Barr/Jensen Debate will air live on KET at 8PM. It should be good TV. Andy Barr is hilarious, like a George W. Bush Mini-Me, and Elisabeth Jensen is a no-bullshit straight shooter. Tune in.
(The $75,000 total above does not take into account any donors in the state of Kentucky. In the interests of Kentucky, it does not consider any donor in Kentucky regardless of whom they worked for — as Kentuckians, it’s understandable why they’d have some interest in electing Andy Barr. This total only accounts for the amount Andy has taken from PACs and big out-of-state donors in the Too Big To Fail Predatory investment industries.)