Sunday, March 06, 2005


367,000 reasons why Oxley talks about Social Security in DC but not in Ohio

As we noted previous, U.S. Rep. Mike Oxley is quite in demand as a speaker on Social Security in DC, yet he seems downright adverse to using whatever charm him might have to talk his constituents into supporting a phase out of the program.

Why would he do his? Oxley is somewhat of a split personality. On one hand, he has built a sterling reputation for constituent services in his district. On the other hand, he has built his reputation as the ultimate insider on issues of Finance in DC (think Sarbanes-Oxley Act).

As someone from what is still an agrarian heartland, it is sort of odd that Oxley has become the dean of banking and finance legislation. In fact, he has been so "good" at it that he is the Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services. He leads 37 Republicans, 32 Democrats, and 1 Independent which, as his website says, "oversees Wall Street, banks, and the insurance industry."

Part of the reason for his success is that he has been able to do the bidding for the above-mentioned industries without raising eyebrows in his district. Oxley has been so willing to be in the pocket of big-time financiers and bankers that his middle name has probably been changed to "lint."

Oxley, however, clearly has a big problem - perhaps for the first time in recent years. Oxley's silence on Social Security while making appearances in Ohio is understandable because his constituents would probably string him up by his ears if the realized what a cheerleader he has become for ending Social Security. Yet, he apparently is pretty brazen about his support in DC.

Why is he so bold in DC? We don't think he has much choice. Oxley is a one-man advertising show for campaign finance reform. Millions of dollars have flowed to Oxley from outside his district and his state. More importantly, the bankers and brokers have paid for his influence and robbing Social Security to create private accounts looks like a damn good thing to them.

How much have they paid? We briefly examined Oxley's FEC filings to look at donations he received since the 2002 Congressional elections. Just looking at the obvious banks, financial houses and investment institutions, we quickly found that Oxley received at least $366,731 dollars from these groups. Here is a sampling:
VenturePAC - $14,000 Lehman Brothers- $13,000
CUNA - $12,000 HSBC - $11,000
Bear Steans - $10,000 Capital One - $10,000
Citigroup - $10,000 Credit Suisse First Boston - $10,000
E*Trade - $10,000 Goldman Sachs - $10,000
Ind. Comm. Bankers - $10,000 J.P. Morgan - $10,000
KeyCorp - $10,000 Morgan Stanley - $10,000
National City Corp - $10,000 Bond Market Assoc. - $10,000
UBS - $10,000 Wachovia - $10,000
Wells Fargo - $10,000 Bank of America - $8,000
Nat. Assoc. of Ins. and Financial Advisors - $10,000
This list reads like a Who's Who of potential major beneficiaries of the phase out windfall. And keep in mind, that this is only a partial list. We counted over 68 companies that gave Oxley over $1,000, 52 over $2,000 and 38 over $5,000.

We note that reporters have been invited to join Oxley on his "Anything But Discuss Social Security" district events tomorrow (March 7). Maybe one gutsy one could ask if the $367,000 he has received has anything to do with his refusal to discuss Social Security with his constituents.


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