Return on Investment
Total campaign contributions and lobbying by TARP recipients*


Company Campaign Contributions, 07-08 Cycle Lobbying Expenditures, 2008 TARP Payment Return on Investment
Bank of America Corp**
Citigroup Inc.
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Wells Fargo & Company
General Motors Corporation
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
Morgan Stanley
The PNC Financial Services Group Inc.
U.S. Bancorp
Chrysler Holding LLC and Cerberus Capital Management
SunTrust Banks, Inc.
Capital One Financial Corporation
Regions Financial Corp.
Fifth Third Bancorp
American Express Company
BB&T Corp.
Bank of New York Mellon Corporation
CIT Group Inc.
Comerica Inc.
State Street Corporation
Marshall & Ilsley Corporation
Northern Trust Corporation
Zions Bancorporation
Huntington Bancshares
Synovus Financial Corp.
Popular, Inc.
First Horizon National Corporation
M&T Bank Corporation
City National Corporation
Webster Financial Corporation
First Bancorp
Fulton Financial Corporation
TCF Financial Corporation
South Financial Group, Inc.
Wilmington Trust Corporation
East West Bancorp
Sterling Financial Corporation
Whitney Holding Corporation
Susquehanna Bancshares, Inc
Valley National Bancorp
UCBH Holdings, Inc.
New York Private Bank & Trust Corporation
Cathay General Bancorp
Wintrust Financial Corporation
SVB Financial Group
International Bancshares Corporation
Trustmark Corporation
Umpqua Holdings Corp.
MB Financial Inc.
First Midwest Bancorp, Inc.
Pacific Capital Bancorp
United Community Banks, Inc.
Boston Private Financial Holdings, Inc.
Independent Bank Corp.
National Penn Bancshares, Inc.
Dickinson Financial Corporation
Central Pacific Financial Corp.
Sterling Bancshares, Inc.
FirstMerit Corp.
Banner Corporation
Signature Bank
1st Source Corporation
S&T Bancorp
Park National Corporation
Old National Bancorp
F.N.B. Corporation
Pinnacle Financial Partners, Inc.
Iberiabank Corporation
Plains Capital Corporation
Midwest Banc Holdings, Inc.
Sandy Spring Bancorp, Inc.
Columbia Banking System, Inc.
Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc.
Bank of the Ozarks, Inc.
Wesbanco Bank Inc.
Green Bankshares, Inc.
Virginia Commerce Bancorp
Southwest Bancorp, Inc.
Flushing Financial Corporation
Superior Bancorp Inc.
Nara Bancorp, Inc.
First Bancorp
SCBT Financial Corporation
CoBiz Financial Inc.
Union Bankshares Corporation
Liberty Bancshares, Inc.
Great Southern Bancorp
WSFS Financial Corporation
Ameris Bancorp
State Bankshares, Inc.
Home Bancshares, Inc.
Fidelity Southern Corporation
MetroCorp Bancshares, Inc.
Cadence Financial Corporation
Exchange Bank
Sterling Bancorp
Eagle Bancorp, Inc.
Bridgeview Bancorp, Inc.
OceanFirst Financial Corp.
First Defiance Financial Corp.
State Bancorp, Inc.
Fidelity Financial Corporation
Yadkin Valley Financial Corporation
West Bancorporation, Inc.
Porter Bancorp
Encore Bancshares Inc.
First Security Group, Inc.
Centrue Financial Corporation
Pulaski Financial Corp
Peapack-Gladstone Financial Corporation
Centerstate Banks of Florida Inc.
Citizens & Northern Corporation
Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina, Inc.
Shore Bancshares, Inc.
Horizon Bancorp
Intervest Bancshares Corporation
HF Financial Corp.
Heritage Financial Corporation
Wainwright Bank & Trust Company
Citizens South Banking Corporation
First Financial Service Corporation
C&F Financial Corporation
Carver Bancorp, Inc
Bar Harbor Bankshares/Bar Harbor Bank & Trust
Security Federal Corporation
ECB Bancorp, Inc./East Carolina Bank
Timberland Bancorp, Inc.
Carolina Bank Holdings, Inc.
BankFirst Capital Corporation
Monarch Financial Holdings, Inc.
Magna Bank
Morrill Bancshares, Inc.
LCNB Corp.
OneUnited Bank
First Manitowoc Bancorp, Inc.
1st Constitution Bancorp
Pacific Coast Bankers’ Bancshares
Mid Penn Bancorp, Inc.
Uwharrie Capital Corp
Midland States Bancorp
New Hampshire Thrift Bancshares, Inc.
Citizens First Corporation
Syringa Bancorp
First Sound Bank
Western Community Bancshares, Inc.
Fidelity Bancorp, Inc.
Somerset Hills Bancorp
American State Bancshares, Inc.
Patapsco Bancorp, Inc.
Seaside National Bank & Trust
Northeast Bancorp
Pacific Commerce Bank
Capital Pacific Bancorp
Bank of Commerce
FPB Financial Corp.
Treaty Oak Bancorp, Inc.
Grand Total

*TARP recipient list accessed at on Feb. 2, 2009. List includes only recipients that spent money on lobbying or were associated with campaign contributions. Campaign contributions include money from PACs and individuals but do not include post-election fundraising.

**Includes data for Merrill Lynch, which was acquired by Bank of America

You can also download this data here: TARP Recipients.xls

# # #

Category: Bailouts, Politics

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

46 Responses to “Total Campaign Contributions/Lobbying by TARP Recipients”

  1. km4 says:

    Charles Ponzi would be proud !

  2. dss says:

    We have the best government that money can buy.

  3. clawback says:

    Great post. I love how you have to just keep on scrolling to get down to the bottom. The ROI numbers are just ridiculous. I might print this out and hang it on my door.

  4. clawback says:

    On second thought, I’m going to need a taller door. That’s at least 12 pages long.

  5. rmasand says:

    If this is not an irresistible argument for campaign finance reform I don’t know what is.

  6. nice post. as others noted, good format.
    also, 8. Bailed out Banks and America’s Wealthiest Cheat IRS Out of Billions

    and, don’t miss #’s 19.&22.

  7. scharfy says:

    I’m so glad those brave congressmen saved us from financial armageddon…

    There needs to be a tax revolution. The beast cannot be tamed. I mean this is like reasoning with a two-year throwing a tantrum. We are just emboldening them.

    My blood is boiling.. Thank god for Real Houswives… It doth soothe me…

  8. dss says:

    @MEH Does Goldman really get away with paying 1% tax rate? Is there any doubt left as to who the winners in this meltdown are and who are the losers?

    “In December 2008, the bank holding company Goldman Sachs reported its first quarterly loss. On the heels of this announcement, Goldman Sachs issued a statement confirming that its tax rate was dropping from 34.1 percent to 1 percent. Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which got $10 billion and debt guarantees from the US government in October 2008, expects to pay only $14 million in taxes worldwide for 2008, compared with $6 billion in 2007. The New York-based Goldman Sachs cited “changes in geographic earnings mix” as the reason behind the decrease.
    According to US Representative Lloyd Doggett, the shifting of income to countries with lower taxes is cause for concern. “The problem is larger than Goldman Sachs,” Doggett said, “With the right hand out begging for bailout money, the left is hiding it offshore.””

    Oh yeah. We as a nation are screwed.

    OT – did Bill Gross of Pimco mark the top in US treasuries when he said he was buying Treasuries to protect against deflation 9/29?

  9. polizeros says:

    It’s time for a populist revolt again.

  10. dss says:


    For pure escapism I kinda like “Flipping Out” or “Top Chef”. If I am in a dark mood, I watch CNBC.

  11. bobmitchell says:

    It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.
    Upton Sinclair

    Is there anyone in the US anymore who’s job, or at least well being for the moment wouldn’t be adversely impacted by this knowledge? Let alone acting on this knowledge.

    I believe it was designed this way.

  12. the whole system is absurd. the average congressman has to spend more time than ever raising money and flying back and forth from dc and around the home state just to do it.

    there used to be a season for campaigning and fundraising, but it is now a fulltime job. this leaves the rep or senator with exactly zero time to think or put thought into policy and the well being of their constituents like their predecessors had in the good old days.

    if hey dont play the game (and their last name isnt kennedy or bloomberg) they lose when election time comes to the guy who will play the game, so even the thought pols end up doing fucked up stuff like voting for bills they haven’t read.

    instead of worrying about how much CEOs make, DC should look inward at the lobbyist/fundraising system, which gets more grueling with each cycle

  13. Barack Obama appointed eleven members of the Trilateral Commission to top-level and key positions in his administration within his first ten days in office. This represents a very narrow source of international leadership inside the Obama administration, with a core agenda that is not necessarily in support of working people in the United States.

    Obama was groomed for the presidency by key members of the Trilateral Commission. Most notably, Zbigniew Brzezinski, co-founder of the Trilateral Commission with David Rockefeller in 1973, has been Obama’s principal foreign policy advisor.

    According to official Trilateral Commission membership lists, there are only eighty-seven members from the United States (the other 337 members are from other countries). Thus, within two weeks of his inauguration, Obama’s appointments encompassed more than 12 percent of Commission’s entire US membership.

    Trilateral appointees include:
    * Secretary of Treasury, Tim Geithner
    * Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice
    * National Security Advisor, Gen. James L. Jones
    * Deputy National Security Advisor, Thomas Donilon
    * Chairman, Economic Recovery Committee, Paul Volker
    * Director of National Intelligence, Admiral Dennis C. Blair
    * Assistant Secretary of State, Asia & Pacific, Kurt M. Campbell
    * Deputy Secretary of State, James Steinberg
    * State Department, Special Envoy, Richard Haass
    * State Department, Special Envoy, Dennis Ross
    * State Department, Special Envoy, Richard Holbrooke

    There are many other links in the Obama administration to the Trilateral Commission. For instance, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is married to Commission member William Jefferson Clinton.
    Secretary of Treasury Tim Geithner’s informal group of advisors include E. Gerald Corrigan, Paul Volker, Alan Greenspan, and Peter G. Peterson, all members. Geithner’s first job after college was with Trilateralist Henry Kissinger at Kissinger Associates.

    Trilateralist Brent Scowcroft has been an unofficial advisor to Obama and was mentor to Defense Secretary Robert Gates. And Robert Zoelick, current president of the World Bank appointed during the G.W. Bush administration, is a member.
    The Trilateral Commission: Usurping Sovereignty

    The Trilateral Commission is approaching its 35th anniversary. Trilateral policy has been to create a “New International Economic Order” but the means to the end involved hijacking the Executive Branch of the U.S. government. Starting with James Earl Carter in 1976, every successive administration has been dominated by members of the Commission — for 35 years, they have had their way with trade policy, creation of global treaties, monetary policy and the usurping or American sovereignty.
    By Patrick Wood

    “President Reagan ultimately came to understand Trilateral’s value and invited the entire membership to a reception at the White House in April 1984”
    — David Rockefeller, Memoirs, 2002
    as an aside, note that Reagan was shot in March, 1981, less than two months after being inagurated..
    “Everyone knows who John Hinckley, Jr. is. This youngest Hinckley son is now
    being permitted unsupervised visits within the Washington, DC
    metropolitan area–away from his mental facility, after nearly killing
    President Reagan in 1981. But a much more interesting subject is, who
    is John Hinckley, Sr.?

  14. Jojo says:

    Those ROI numbers are surreal, with far too many digits to the left of the decimal point!

    I recall reading that Britain only allows campaign ads 6-8 weeks prior to an election. We should do the same. Something like this would have a lot more chance of passing muster. But of course, the media would be up in arms. There is always someone to complain.

  15. sidesspot says:

    OK, this answers my second comment in the previous post. Thanks.

  16. Moss says:

    ROI needs to redefined as Return on Influence.

    They should put a 25% service tax on all lobbying fees paid out and a huge tax on all campaign contributions above $2,500 per campaign cycle NOT made by an individual which would include PAC’s. Anyone who is a registered lobbyist should be hit with an 15% excise tax on gross revenue.

    End this perversion.

  17. DMR says:

    BR, this table does not fit your usually high standards.

    If a bank gave $0 to campaigns and $0 to lobbyists, any dollars they receive from TARP will make their ROI infinite. [BR: True!]

    In a twisted way, the less that a bank relied upon influencing the electoral process, the worse light that your chart paints them out to be. The large banks that one would expect to be in the villains list, all gave less money / $ received than average. There are the outliers like Fidelity (with an ROI of only 843%) that have given a significant amount of money to politics but received little from TARP.

    While it may still be true that this is a who’s who list of bad guys, I’m more tempted to see what finance’s contributions are w.r.t. their share of GDP. This table does not show GDP weights for sector but shows the total contributions. FYI: Finance is not #1.

  18. Winston Munn says:

    Green shoots don’t come cheap.

  19. jeg3 says:

    Barry, it may disagree with you t to speak your mind to congress, how about the IMF like Janet?
    She’s full of optimism.

    “The Tao of Organization”
    by Cheng Yi (Translated by Thomas Cleary)

    …”When firmness is good it becomes justice, straightforwardness, decisiveness, strictness and strength of will, capability and steadiness.”
    (What was expected of the Democrats after the 2008 elections).

    “When firmness is bad it becomes violence, narrowmindedness, and forcefulness.”
    (What the Republicans became after the 2008 elections).

    “When softness is good it becomes compassion, harmony, and accord.”
    (What the Republicans need more of).

    “When softness is bad it becomes weakness, indecision, and false cunning.”…
    (What the Democrats actually became after winning the 2008 elections).

    I guess history rhymes:
    The Athenians: Another warning from history?

  20. holl says:

    Mr. Ritholtz, great post! Get ready for WAVE 3!

  21. says:

    I can’t believe that Goldman, aka The Smartest Guys in the Whole Universe, don’t have the highest ROI. They overpaid!!! Sorry for those whose bonuses will be cut.

  22. says:

    In all seriousness, TARP is relatively a small part of the total Fed, FDIC, and Treasure “package.”

    What’s the ROI after taking into account $300B backstop @Citi, backdoor bailout of JPM (the Bear fix), and access by GS to the Fed funds @ exactly zero % interest rate?

  23. raholco says:

    While these numbers do look absurd, lets remember that at least some (ok, very few) of those entities paid back their TARP monies.

  24. Patrick Neid says:

    And they knew who to give it to.

    “Taxpayers hope their money is being allocated entirely on the merits, but with Congress controlling how much money the Treasury gets to hand out, it will be impossible to completely exclude politics from this process,” Krumholz said.

    Some of the top recipients of contributions from companies receiving TARP money are the same members of Congress who chair committees charged with regulating the financial sector and overseeing the effectiveness of this unprecedented government program. They include Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs (he received $854,200 from the companies in the 2008 election cycle, including money to his presidential campaign) and Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, chair of the Senate Finance Committee (he received $279,000). In total, members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Senate Finance Committee and House Financial Services Committee received $5.2 million from TARP recipients in the 2007-2008 election cycle. President Obama collected at least $4.3 million from employees at these companies for his presidential campaign.

  25. bergsten says:

    @MEH — We were going to invite you to join the Trilateral Comission but now…

  26. jc says:

    Like Chris Whalen said – the taxpayers will be paying for this for the rest of the century.Next we need hyperinflation to drive everyone into higher tax brackets to pay for this without any tax increases, freeze various COLA and start a non-deductible VAT to really crush the proles. Everybody will be making 100K/yr, their homes will be worth $1M but they won’t be able to afford the $10 loaf of bread and the $50 gallon of gas.

  27. bsneath says:

    Thank you Barry for your latest series of posts.

    Someone needs to keep the candle lit!

  28. impermanence says:

    267208% ROI, not bad. This is why there is little concern (among the financial community) for the productive economy anymore. You can only exploit workers’ labor so much through conventional employment techniques (appropriating labor-value); the amount you can steal from the collective body of workers, legally, through the political process, is nearly unlimited.

    The financial community simply can’t lose money fast enough. This should be the poster child moral hazard case.

  29. WaveCatcher says:

    The most egregious are the “institutions” that had the highest Lobby$ / Campaign$ ratio of 700 – 1400%.


    Oh wait, WE taxpayers own those companies now. I guess they were just kissing up to the “new” boss!

  30. jc says:

    Moral hazard sure disappeared quickly in favor of systemic risk, didn’t it?

  31. bergsten,

    for some reason, this came to mind: “I do not care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.”–Groucho Marx

    though, more seriously, it’s, quite OK, commission of High Treason has never been an aspirational Goal of mine..
    past that, speaking of Marx( and Corwin), this, I think, is worthwhile: GREGG: What are the unique strengths of radio theatre?

    CORWIN: First, radio is a stage with a bare set. This is not a deprivation, but an advantage, for a bare proscenium should be as inviting to a radio playwright or director as a bare wall is to a muralist, as a silent organ was to Bach. Not to be grand about it, but the features and dimensions of a place, of a room, of a landscape, are not, in a good radio script, described in so many words. They are perceived by characters and brought out by speech, sound, by allusion. Obliquely. Examples: “Don’t you ever let any light into this room?” —-”Where did you get that painting, the one under the crossed swords?” —-”Don’t sit in that chair—it’s an antique, and rickety.” “Stop. Whoa. I’ve got to rest. This damn heat would smelt steel”—and so forth. Obviously this sort of indication enables the listener to collaborator with the writer and director.

    GREGG: We hear the expression “boob tube” describing American television.

    CORWIN: And “couch potato” to describe addicted viewers. —That’s because everything is spelled out for the TV viewer, whereas in radio the word has authority as well as utility. The listener becomes at once set design wardrobe chief, even casting director. I believe that if Shakespeare were alive today, he’d be drawn to radio as a medium that addresses the ear exclusively, because after all the ear is the poet of the senses. Through it we hear music, the ultimate abstraction of sound. Let’s not forget that originally language was sound only. It’s only latterly that words began to be written…
    this episode, of a series: Columbia Presents Corwin series which included ‘ The Undecided Molecule ’, a comic play set in verse and starring Groucho Marx. puts into, stark, contrast the qualities of ‘Entertainment’ of today, and that of ~60 years ago..
    it can be found ‘on the Web’, this ht tp://
    may lead to it..

  32. [...] The Big Picture has the data and a downloadable spreadsheet. This just shows the first 7, there are 175 listed online. [...]

  33. bergsten says:

    @MEH — Thank you for all of that — I’ve always admired Julius Henry (Groucho) and brothers (how can you not love anyone who builds a bonfire in their bosses’ office?).

    “Whatever it is, I’m against it.”

    If you’re a radio guy (and even if you aren’t) you should know/learn about Jean Shepherd ( — probably the best radio storyteller of all time (and arguably the first storytelling stand-up comic).` Even CNBCS, who alleges to be a New Yorker didn’t know about Shepherd (implying he’s younger than he pretends to be). Barry’s probably 10 years too young…

    Keep your knees loose (

  34. Mike in Nola says:

    Oh no, not the Trilateral Commission!

    ZH showed its great talent for sarcasm in its post yesterday touting its Radio Zero feed:

    Radio Zero: “We watched ‘they live,’ last night. Felt like the comment section on Daily Kos.”

    Plot to the movie is here:

    Where can I get some of those sunglasses?

  35. bergsten,

    this: “Whatever it is, I’m against it.”, I’ve always thought, was a great catalyst to ratiocinative exercise, and, probably, should be in the Preface of most Logic texts..

    also, seems that “Horse Feathers” is, popularity-wise, holding up, well, after ~75 years..

    given the rhetorical arguments, found in the Poli-Sci field, offered up for today’s public consumption, one would think that anything older than 42′s reign(’93-’001) would be helplessly out of date and woefully inadequate..
    Thanks for the links re: Jean Shepherd, having been in/around NYC, enough, I’ve heard, respectful/laudatory, mention of him, though wasn’t fully aware of the depths of his contributions.
    Mike in Nola(H-town),

    you may care to join ‘Elizabeth’, in this: “”The idea that there is a story-line behind much of the media rings true to me. I never actually thought about the idea that we are regularly being manipulated by powerful forces in a general way. Now I’m convinced. Our beliefs are actually structured by massive money power and most people have no idea of the process.”
    - Elizabeth W., Clearwater, FL, USA

  36. FrancoisT says:

    Who said crime doesn’t pay?

  37. franklin411 says:

    This chart is a monument to concomitant variation.

  38. Barack Obama appointed eleven members of the Trilateral Commission to top-level and key positions in his administration within his first ten days in office.

    …..and on the 11th he gets the Peace Prize. Coincidence?

  39. mathman says:

    Why don’t we all start off next year by printing this out and attaching it to our IRS form and declare that we to will only pay one percent – SINCE MOST OF OUR MONEY IS GOING TO THESE FAILED INSTITUTIONS.

  40. [...] The longer answer: Lobbyists from the financial industry have paid hundreds of millions to Congress, the Bush and Obama administrations. (Seeyesterday’s Total Campaign Contributions/Lobbying by TARP Recipients) [...]

  41. I gave no campaign contributions and spent nothing on lobbying. Yet I received $250. So, my percentage return on investment was better than any of the above companies. This demonstrates why that last column is so meaningless except to those who see conspiracies everywhere and think every vote is bought. Yes, some are, but let’s face it: TARP payments saved all of us.
    Why is it considered de rigueur to be sarcastic about every elected official and every government action? Sadly, it seems that pessimism and sarcasm are what pass for knowledge these days.

    Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

  42. “…but let’s face it: TARP payments saved all of us.”
    from Rodger Malcolm Mitchell, above.


    that’s a compelling conclusion, though, if you wouldn’t mind, could you spell out your Premises?

  43. [...] did the banks get their TARP money? Check out this chart which shows another ratio: the amount of campaign contributions relative to TARP money received (Hat Tip: Calculated [...]

  44. [...] can be seen as a return on political investment (i.e., campaign contributions), as shown in this pretty stunning chart developed by The Big Picture. For example, Goldman Sachs employees and related PACs donated $5,690,351 in the 2007-2008 campaign [...]

  45. [...] Here’s a chart I found interesting.. A link to view the full chart.  Ω [...]