Frank Reaps Some Re-Election Support From Financial Services

Posted October 26, 2010 at 11:00pm

Just three months after the enactment of a sweeping financial regulatory overhaul bearing his name, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said he is having mixed success raising money from the financial services industry for his re-election campaign.

“Some of them have been helpful,” the House Financial Services chairman told Roll Call on Tuesday. “Some of them haven’t.”

Campaign finance records show that Frank has received nearly $60,000 in campaign contributions since Wednesday from insurance and banking executives and their companies’ political action committees.

Frank is a GOP target this cycle, and the Boston Herald reported last week that his Republican challenger, management consultant Sean Bielat, “hauled in hefty donations from deep-pocketed financiers” while on a recent tour of the New York Stock Exchange.

Frank sent out a fundraising letter this month that said “a national coalition of right-wing forces” was conspiring against his bid for a 16th term. “The right desperately wants to defeat me not only because I am outspoken, but because I am effective,” Frank wrote. “Recently, I led successful efforts to pass what the Washington Post called ‘the most sweeping reform of Wall Street since the Great Depression.'”

Frank also lent his campaign $200,000 last week, according to Federal Election Commission records.

He said Tuesday that he is having late fundraising luck with the executives at traditional banks, insurance companies and mutual funds. Hedge funds and private equity managers, however, are not taking his calls. “People in the derivatives businesses weren’t too happy with me,” Frank said.

Executives at Putnam Investments, a Boston mutual fund provider, held a fundraiser for his re-election campaign Monday, Frank said, and State Street Bank and Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. are planning events for this week. Employees at Fidelity Investments, another mutual fund provider, also have passed the hat on his behalf in recent weeks, the lawmaker said.

FEC disclosures released this week show that Citizens Financial Group and the trade group American Insurance Association each gave Frank $2,000 recently. The PAC of General Electric Co., which has substantial financial operations, also gave Frank $1,000 this week.

Putnam Investments’ PAC wrote a $2,500 check to Frank’s re-election campaign Monday. The firm’s CEO, Robert Reynolds, also made a $2,400 contribution. The PACs of BlackRock Capital Management, Ameriprise Financial Inc., the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting, Financial Service Centers of America, Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, Webster Bank, and Coastal Federal Credit Union have given Frank campaign money in the past seven days, FEC records show.

Less traditional financial outfits, such as pawnshops and payday lenders, are also using their pocketbooks to show there are no hard feelings over the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which is also named for Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.).

FEC records show that Cash America International Inc.’s PAC gave Frank $5,000 on Saturday. According to its website, the company operates more than 1,000 pawnshops and payday lending stores in the United States and Mexico.

An individual pawnbroker in Arkansas, Tim Collier, wrote Frank a check on Oct. 20 for $1,000, according to FEC records.

Frank defended his recent fundraising push, saying Tuesday that although he refused to accept money from the financial services industry as the overhaul was being debated, he never promised to continue to decline contributions after the bill became law.

“I didn’t want there to be any suggestion that they were influencing the course of the bill through contributions,” Frank said. “Now that the bill is over and done with, and nobody could argue that it would be influenced by these sectors, I have accepted the gratitude of the major Massachusetts financial institutions who believe they were treated fairly.”