Several of the firms who would receive taxpayer funds from the TARP bailout spent money on meetings and charitable gifts that benefited lawmakers, the Hill reports. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, for example, donated $330,000 in the last 6 months of 2008 to politically affiliated charities. Bank of America, meanwhile, spent $35,000 to sponsor a dinner at the NYSE club where Barney Frank was the keynote speaker.
Organizers of the Frank dinner say that Goldman Sachs and Citigroup contributed as well. And while one bank rep says the sponsorship complied with federal lobbying laws, the Hill notes that the three firms have since received a combined $105 billion in TARP funds. “(Businesses) get their name prominently displayed so the official knows who is footing the bill,” says one activist. “They don’t chip in for free.”