U.S. lawmakers are donating or returning contributions from failed banks


Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and other U.S. lawmakers are donating or returning campaign contributions tied to Silicon Valley Bank, in a sign of how members of Congress are aiming to distance themselves from financial institutions that failed this month.

Schumer, the New York Democrat, received the maximum allowed campaign contribution of $5,800 in 2021 from Greg Becker, who was Silicon Valley Bank’s

CEO at that time, according to Federal Election Commission data. He also scored $2,700 in 2015 from the bank’s political action committee, FEC filings show.

The senator has given those contributions to charities, according to reports from CNBC and The Hill.

Since 2015, Silicon Valley Bank’s PAC has provided campaign contributions to at least 27 lawmakers, giving to both Democrats and Republicans, according to FEC data. The recipients range from House Financial Services Committee Chairman Patrick McHenry, the North Carolina Republican, to Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, who was among the senators who voted for a 2018 rollback of Dodd-Frank rules for small and midsize banks.

McHenry also has received donations tied to New York’s Signature Bank
which failed this month as well. Ten days before its failure, the bank hosted a fundraising event for him, but then last week McHenry’s campaign decided it won’t process any of the donations from the event, according to a Bloomberg report.

A representative for McHenry didn’t respond to MarketWatch’s request for comment on contributions linked to Silicon Valley Bank.

Related: Elizabeth Warren proposes nixing 2018 rollback of banking rules

Becker personally has provided campaign contributions to at least six politicians since 2015, with Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna of California and Warner among them.

Khanna — who pushed for government aid for Silicon Valley Bank — got $1,500 in 2015 from Becker, followed by $500 in 2018,

A spokeswoman for Khanna told MarketWatch that the congressman plans to return the contributions to Becker.

Rep. Maxine Waters of California — the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee — received $2,500 from SVB’s PAC in 2020, and Politico reported that the congresswoman said she plans to return the money.

The moves by Schumer, Khanna, McHenry and Waters are reminiscent of when lawmakers gave back or donated campaign contributions made by disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried.

Representatives for Warner didn’t respond to MarketWatch’s request for comment.

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