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Pres. Obama top beneficiary of Swiss Offshore Bank UBS AG funding February 24, 2009

Posted by Daniel Downs in campaign finance, ethics, news, politics.
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Swiss bank UBS AG agreed today to pay $780 million to settle claims by the U.S. Department of Treasury that it helped American customers evade paying taxes by hiding their Swiss bank accounts from U.S. tax authorities. But that’s not the only help that UBS has provided Americans. In the 2008 election cycle, the foreign bank’s employees and PAC contributed $3.1 million to federal candidates (including candidate committees and leadership PACs), parties and PACs, 54 percent of which went to Democrats. Among all finance, insurance and real estate companies, UBS has given more campaign donations than all but six other companies. It also spent nearly $1.3 million lobbying between 2007 and 2008.

UBS not only split its funds between Republicans and Democrats, it also made sure to help out more than one presidential candidate in the 2008 election cycle and directed its funds to a few of the higher ups of the finance-related congressional committees. Here are some of the notable recipients. (For a full list of recipients, download the Excel file below. All totals include contributions to candidates’ leadership PACs and candidate committees.):

* President Obama collected more from employees of the company than any other candidate or party committee, bringing in $512,800 for his presidential bid. As a senator, Obama co-sponsored a bill, S. 681, in 2007 that would have gotten tougher on tax havens, and listed Switzerland, among others, as an “offshore secrecy jurisdiction.” The bill didn’t appear to make it past the Senate Committee on Finance.

* Obama’s opponent, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz), came in second with $170,900.

* Former presidential candidate and current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was among the top 10 individual recipients ($108,500), in addition to former presidential candidates Mitt Romney ($123,350) and Rudy Giuliani ($111,300).

* Former congressman and current White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel collected $64,700. Emanuel received more from UBS than any other member of the House in the 2008 cycle.

* Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), chair of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs (who also ran for president briefly) brought in $61,500. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee collected $60,100.

And just as the company has invested in lawmakers, a few have invested their personal funds in the foreign bank and its subsidiaries. In 2007, seven members of Congress had between $207,187 and $500,180 of their own funds invested in the bank. (Members of Congress report the value of their assets in ranges, making it impossible to calculate their exact worth.) Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) had the most invested at between $100,001 and $250,000. Others with money wrapped up in the bank include Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif), Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), Rep. Vernon Buchanan (R-Fla.), Rep. Kenny Ewell Marchant (R-Texas), Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Clinton.

by Lindsay Renick Mayer

Source: OpenSecrets.Org

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