Employees and political action committees of four banks involved in a $25 billion settlement for mortgage foreclosure and service abuses contributed $45,674 to state candidates, including $5,765 to Republican Governor Scott Walker, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.
Wisconsin will receive $140 million from the national settlement meant for payments to consumers, refinancing benefits, loan term modifications and other relief to borrowers.
But Walker drew fire last week after he announced $25.6 million of the money would be used to help fill a recently forecast $216 million state budget deficit. Critics say it’s unfair to divert money meant to help people hurt by the banks’ mortgage practices and that Walker criticized his predecessor, Democratic Governor Jim Doyle, for using one-time money meant for other purposes to repair past state budget deficits.
The bank contributions to Walker and other candidates for statewide office and the legislature were made from 2008 through 2011 – the period covered by the settlement. Campaign finance records show Walker received $1,580 from Wells Fargo executives; $1,000 from Citigroup’s PAC; and $3,185 from JP Morgan Chase’s executives and PAC.
Four of the five banks involved in the foreclosure settlement and their total employee and PAC contributions to Wisconsin candidates were: JP Morgan Chase, $34,098; Wells Fargo, $8,626; Citigroup, $2,250; and Bank of America, $700. No contributions from a fifth bank in the settlement, Residential Capital, were found.
After Walker, the other large recipients of campaign contributions include four legislative leadership committees used to milk money from wealthy special interests and spend on elections as well as Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, whose office was involved with the other states in the case against the banks, and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett who sharply criticized Walker for diverting some of the settlement money and lost to Walker in the 2010 general election.
Those recipients and their contributions, most of which came from JP Morgan Chase’s PAC, include: $4,000 to the State Senate Democratic Committee; $3,500 to the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate; $2,500 to Van Hollen; $2,000 to the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee; $1,400 to Barrett and $1,000 to the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee.