Wednesday morning, Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, faced a Senate hearing over more than $2 billion in bank losses caused by risky hedges that blew up. Dimon said that the hedges—investments meant to protect the bank—had grown into “complex and hard-to manage risks.” The losses “let a lot of people down, and we are sorry for it.”
Many lawmakers are holding up the losses as evidence of the need for stronger financial regulation. The chairman of the Senate banking committee, Tim Johnson, D-S.D., in his opening remarks, asked for “a full accounting” of JP Morgan’s losses.
But through campaign contributions and well-connected staff, JP Morgan appears to have already taken its own accounting of the Banking committee. Here’s a picture of connections between the company and the committee:
One current staffer on the Senate banking committee, Dwight Fettig, is a former lobbyist for JP Morgan. In 2009, the bank hired him to work on “financial services regulatory reform.” Meanwhile, JP Morgan is stacked thick with former committee staff.
· Naomi Camper—Currently a lobbyist for JP Morgan. Prior to that, from 2001-2004, she was an aide to Senator Johnson.
· Nate Gatten—A JP Morgan lobbyist based in London who was reportedly called back to Washington recently to help with the company’s damage control. He is a former lobbyist for Fannie Mae, and, in the 1990s, was a banking aide to former Senator Robert Bennett, R-Utah, who also sat on the committee.
· Mike Chappell—A lobbyist for Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock and a former press assistant to Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., another committee member.
A former senator on the committee, Mel Martinez, R-Fl., is also now the JP Morgan exec in charge of Florida, Central America, and the Caribbean. Martinez was elected to the Senate in 2004 and went to the bank in 2010. Bloomberg reported that he was called to Washington after the losses were reported.
JP Morgan has also been a generous donor to banking committee members, both Republican and Democratic.
· JP Morgan is the second largest campaign contributor to Johnson, the committee chair, and to the top Republican on the committee, Richard Shelby of Alabama, over the past twenty years, according to a tally from American Banker.
· JP Morgan employees have donated more than $80,000 to Johnson since 1998 and more than $136,000 to Shelby since 1990.
· So far in 2012, Dimon has personally donated to committee members Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Mark Warner, D-Va. In 2008, he gave $2,000 each to Johnson and Shelby.
· Six of the 22 members of the banking committee have not received any money from JP Morgan PACs or employees in recent election cycles. Two of those members are retiring and aren’t collecting campaign funds.