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Individuals and political action committees associated with defunct financial institution Silicon Valley Bank have donated extensively to leading politicians.
Silicon Valley Bank, one of the largest financial institutions in the United States, collapsed last week as depositors rushed to withdraw their funds. The firm had sold several long-term government and corporate bonds at a loss to supply the deposits before the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation assumed control of the company.
Federal election data compiled by Open Secrets indicates that Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) received $8,300 from Silicon Valley Bank affiliates, including $5,800 from individuals and $2,500 from the company’s political action committee during the 2022 midterm election cycle. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also received $5,800 directly from Silicon Valley Bank CEO Greg Becker, the maximum allowable individual contribution, according to more data from Open Secrets.
President Joe Biden received some $66,700 from Silicon Valley Bank affiliates in the 2020 election cycle, while the DNC Services Corporation received $21,400.
Schumer donated all funds he has garnered from Silicon Valley Bank affiliates, including a $2,700 contribution from the political action committee in 2015, after the financial institution collapsed, according to a report from Fox News. Similar actions were taken by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), who recently served as chair of the House Financial Services Committee and received $2,500 from the political action committee in 2020.
Other lawmakers who received funds from Silicon Valley Bank affiliates include Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Rep. Josh Harder (D-CA), and Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY).
Open Secrets noted that each of the seven registered lobbyists employed by Silicon Valley Bank in 2022 and each of the eight employed in 2021 had previously held government positions. Franklin Square Group, the sole lobbying firm working on behalf of Silicon Valley Bank since 2011, has opposed regulations established by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.
Two employees of Franklin Square Group had previously worked as senior aides to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA): Wes McClelland served as his senior policy advisor between 2011 and 2015, while Brian Worth was his director of coalitions between 2011 and 2014. The former had also served as a senior policy advisor to former Rep. John Campbell (R-CA) and the primary staffer for the House Financial Services Committee.
Other associates with Franklin Square Group had worked under Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX) and former Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA), as well as the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation now manages the holdings still maintained by Silicon Valley Bank, which California state regulators closed on Friday, to strengthen “public confidence” in the banking system by guaranteeing all deposits. Most customers of Silicon Valley Bank, which offered services to nearly half of the venture-backed technology and healthcare firms, maintained deposits higher than the $250,000 limit insured by the FDIC.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, and FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg said in a joint statement that the banking system “remains resilient and on a solid foundation, in large part due to reforms that were made after the financial crisis that ensured better safeguards for the banking industry.” They vowed that “no losses” associated with the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank would be “borne by the taxpayer.”