Discuss as:

The Magic Circle

From NBC's Chuck Todd

In the midst of the congressional outrage over bonuses and bailouts, many of the very firms who benefitted from TARP funds are still making political donations. And the politicians are still taking them.

According to the latest F.E.C. data for February, several members of Congress who have been critical of the federal government's bailout of U.S. companies have received campaign contributions just in the last six weeks – from the firms they bailed out.

Campaign-finance-reform advocate Fred Wertheimer says the government's been bailing out banks and other major "too-big-to-fail" firms -- as these same companies continue to use their PACs to make contributions. "It all adds up to kind of a magic circle involving the government, TARP recipients, members of Congress, and campaign contributions."  The reality, of course, is that these contributions, individually, aren't a lot of money. But many members of Congress (including Speaker Pelosi and Financial Services Chair Barney Frank) have decided against taking any of the money. The optics of this for both the banks and for the members of Congress is bad, and only feeds the credibility problems both entities have with the American public.

Video:

NBC's Chuck Todd reports on the political contributions some politicians are getting from businesses and other organizations receiving bailout money.

So who is getting money and giving it right back to the politicians? Here's a list of companies who received at least $1 billion in TARP funds and in February alone also gave money to members of Congress or national parties:

(Note: more TARP-recipients may have given money in February but not every company PAC reports their contributions monthly, some do it quarterly, meaning we won't know until mid-April if these figures are actually higher)

Citigroup
Bank of America
Goldman Sachs
U.S. Bancorp employee PAC
Chrysler
American Express
KeyCorp
BB&T
Huntington Shares

Now here's a list of House leadership and banking committee members who got money from these bailed-out companies:

(Note: Some members of Congress received contributions directly to their campaign accounts and some received money to their leadership PACs.)

Steve Austria, R-Ohio, $1,000 from Huntington Shares
Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., $5,000 from Bank of America
Melissa Bean, D-Ill., $5,000 from Bank of America
Roy Blunt, R-Mo., $1,500 from U.S. Bancorp employee PAC
John Boehner, R-Ohio, $5,000 from Bank of America; $5,000 from American Express; $1,500 from U.S.
Bancorp employee PAC
Kevin Brady, R-Texas, $1,000 from Citigroup; $1,000 from American Express
Eric Cantor, R-Va., $2,500 from Citigroup; $5,000 from Bank of America; $1,000 from Chrysler; $2,500
from American Express
Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., $1,000 from Bank of America; $5,000 from Bank of America
Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., $5,000 from Bank of American
Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., $1,000 from Chrysler
Vern Ehlers, R-Mich., $1,200 from Huntington Shares
Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, $1,000 from Citigroup; $5,000 from Bank of America
Steny Hoyer, D-Md., $1,500 from Bank of America; $5,000 from Bank of America
Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., $1,000 from Citigroup; $1,000 from Bank of America; $1,000 from U.S. Bancorp
Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, $1,000 from Huntington Shares
Mary Jo Kilroy, D-Ohio, $1,000 from Huntington Shares
Leonard Lance, R-N.J., $1,000 from Citigroup; $2,000 from Goldman Sachs
Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., $1,000 from Citigroup; $5,000 from Bank of America
Greg Meeks, D-N.Y., $5,000 from Bank of America
Gary Miller, R-Calif., $1,000 from Bank of America
Gwen Moore, D-Wis., $2,500 from Bank of America
Richard Neal, D-Mass., $4,000 from Citigroup; $5,000 from Bank of America; $1,000 from American
Express
Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, $1,000 from U.S. Bancorp employee PAC
Devin Nunes, R-Calif., $5,000 from Bank of America
Glenn Nye, D-Va., $250 from BB&T
Mike Pence, R-Ind., $1,000 from Chrysler
Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., $1,000 from Chrysler
Mike Rogers, R-Mich., $1,000 from Chrysler
Pete Sessions, R-Texas, $5,000 from Bank of America
Lamar Smith, R-Texas, $1,000 from American Express
Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, $1,000 from Huntington Shares
Mel Watt, D-N.C., $1,000 from Bank of America; $1,000 from BB&T; $1,000 from U.S. Bancorp
employee PAC

But Senators also benefitted:

(Note: Both Reid and Shelby say they returned their checks. *** UPDATE *** Sen. Blanche Lincoln's office also notes that she returned her check. And Sen. Sherrod Brown's office says that if he had received donations from a firm receiving TARP funds, they will be returned.)

Michael Bennet, D-Colo., $1,000 from U.S. Bancorp employee PAC
Robert Bennett, R-Utah, $1,000 from Chrysler
Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, $1,000 from Chrysler
Richard Burr, R-N.C., $5,000 from Bank of America
Tom Carper, D-Del., $620 from Citigroup; $1,000 from Bank of America; $5,000 from Bank of America
Jim DeMint, R-S.C., $2,000 from Citigroup; $1,000 from Bank of America; $2,000 from BB&T; $1,000
from U.S. Bancorp employee PAC
Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., $1,000 from Citigroup
Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., $1,000 from Bank of America
Bob Menendez, D-N.J., $5,000 from Bank of America
Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., $2,500 from Citigroup; $4,000 from Bank of America
Harry Reid, D-Nev., $1,000 from U.S. Bancorp employee PAC
Richard Shelby, R-Ala., $5,000 from Bank of America
Arlen Specter, R-Pa., $2,000 from Chrysler
George Voinovich, R-Ohio, $5,000 from Bank of America

And so did the Parties.

The Democrats:
(Note: Both the DSCC and the DCCC say they never received the checks Bank of America reported in their March FEC report)

NDCPAC, $5,000 from Citigroup, $5,000 from Bank of America
Blue Dog PAC, $5,000 from Citigroup; $5,000 from Bank of America
DSCC , $15,000 from Bank of America
DCCC,  $15,000 from Bank of America
FourOhDems, $1,000 from Huntington Shares

And the Republicans:

HouseConFund, $5,000 from Bank of America
GOP Main Street, $5,000 from Bank of America
NRSC, $15,000 from Bank of America
NRCC $15,000 from Bank of America

Interestingly, Goldman Sachs actually reported members of Congress who refused to cash their checks, including Rep. Stephanie Herseth, D-S.D., Rep. Pete DeFazio, D-Ore., and then-Congressman and now chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.

Want to know if your Congressman is getting these contributions?
Check out the FEC's reports on "Campaign Reports and Data" and "Disclosure Data Search" to search by donor or politician).
(Note: some companies have multiple PACs, like Bank of America.)

What about whether or not your Congressman's contributors have taken bailout money?
Try here at the Treasury TARP Transactions List.