Connecting the Dots: Unbridled Campaign Financing (Cause) and Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) for the Crony Capitalist Class (Consequence)

Hugh J. Campbell Son of a steelworker, Philadelphia, Pa.

The politically contentious trade bill signed by President Obama hands him and his successor “fast-track" negotiating authority for TPP, TTIP TISA and other free trade deals.

The political maneuvering and opinions on trade partnerships remain complex. But the money flowing to U.S. Senators has been much more one-sided.

CNBC’s Article, Senators rake in big money from pro-trade donors, reports that banks, insurance companies, utilities and many more industries that backed the bill in its current form have donated $218.4 million to U.S. Senators since October 2008. CNBC got that information from money-in-politics researcher MapLight. That's about nine times more than the $23.2 million contributed by groups that oppose it.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reaped the most from supporters of this version of the bill, taking in $8.26 million since 2008. Among the top 10 recipients, six are Republicans, all voting for TPA, and four are Democrats, all except Mark Warner of Virginia voting against TPA. Sen. Bernie Sanders has unsurprisingly received the least money, about $140,000, from the bill’s backers.


Fast Track, also called Trade Promotion Autority (TPA) passed the Senate with about 70% yes votes from Senators who were elected in 2014, which was the record campaign contribution mid-term election, and from Senators up for reelection in 2016 (expected to be an all-time record year for campaign contributions).

The connectivity between unbridled campaign financing and the United States’ exporting of crony capitalism via global partnerships provides populist candidates with a direct link between unbridled campaign contributions and crony capitalism, as well as begging the question: where does President Obama truly stand on out-of-control corporate contributions?


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Hugh Campbell is a seasoned financial professional, currently providing subject matter expertise on a variety of regulatory topics, including the Dodd-Frank Act, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and overall compliance monitoring. Hugh has previously held positions as Chief Risk Officer (CRO), Chief Audit Executive (CAE) and Director of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Compliance.