Dad, bank lobbyist Conor Lamb, bombs for Senate campaign

He should have It’s been easy to portray Glenn Youngkin, formerly CEO of financial giant Carlyle Group and now governor-elect of Virginia, as a greedy private equity vampire. But when his opponent, former Governor Terry McAuliffe, tried to succeed in a debate, his attempt failed. “If you can trust me with your money, the rest of Virginia can trust me too,” Youngkin retorted, alluding to McAuliffe’s substantial investments in Carlyle. “It wasn’t a good investment, let me tell you,” was all McAuliffe could muster in response.

Following the defeat of McAuliffe, the choice of the establishment who sought to reclaim their old job after stepping down as governor of Virginia in 2018, the next big test for the Democrats’ centrist wing will likely be the main competition to succeed the Outgoing Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. In the state of key swing – which proved decisive in the election of President Joe Biden – centrists and progressives prepare for a showdown between Representative Conor Lamb, a moderate member of the House and member of the caucus bipartisan problem-solvers, and Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, an ally of Senator Bernie Sanders who supported the Vermont Independent for president in 2016. Lamb, who has little backing from key leaders but won the hallmark of reliable democratic groups like the Human Rights Campaign, does not seem to hesitate to assume the centrist role. Days after McAuliffe’s defeat, Lamb tweeted: “If you want a senator who poses as a socialist, feeds the GOP attack ads and didn’t help with infrastructure, I AM NOT YOUR GUY. . “

But Lamb could find himself in a situation similar to that of McAuliffe, trapped as an avatar of the Democratic Party’s financial interests, having received more than $ 100,000 in campaign contributions from PNC Bank officers and employees since his inception. elected to Congress in the 2018 cycle. More than $ 28,000 of that came from his father, a lobbyist and senior bank executive, and his wife, according to campaign fundraising records reviewed by The Intercept.

Lamb’s father, Thomas Lamb, has worked for the Pittsburgh-based PNC since 1995, serving as a federal lobbyist for the bank from 2001 to 2011 and a state-level lobbyist from 2007 to today. With cash flow from PNC bank executives to Conor Lamb’s campaign for the US Senate – $ 23,400 of which landed in the third quarter of this year, including two maximum contributions from PNC CEO William S. Demchak – it seems likely that Lamb, as a senator, would share his father’s pro-business perspective. In fact, when he was inaugurated in the House of Representatives in 2018, young Lamb’s first vote in Congress pitted his own party and joined a majority of Republicans in exempting banks worth up to $ 10 billion. assets of the Volcker rule of the Dodd-Frank Act, which prohibits banks from engaging in risky speculative trading. Lamb’s father, according to the disclosure documents, had lobbied the Dodd-Frank Act.

“Conor was one of 78 House Democrats who voted for this bill – almost half of the caucus at the time, including Leader Hoyer, Whip Clyburn and President Jeffries,” the director wrote. campaign campaigner, Abby Nassif-Murphy, in a statement to The Intercept. “The bill applied to small community banks, not big banks like the PNC, and Conor voted for it after listening to community bank voters in his district who had a common sense argument to make. Conor also voted against legislation to ease regulations on large banks. It’s just recycled Republican garbage that no one bought the first time around and that no one will buy now. “

Thomas Lamb’s role in his son’s political rise has received minimal public scrutiny. In addition to lobbying for PNC – which he has represented in the state of Pennsylvania since 2007 – Thomas Lamb has served on several corporate advocacy groups, including the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce and the Committee for the economic development. The latter group describes itself as a “center of corporate-led public policy” led by “key executives of large American corporations” and promotes free-market policies favorable to business. (The Committee itself has received considerable funding from the PNC.) Thomas Lamb did not respond to a request for comment.

Fetterman, Lamb’s main main opponent and previously mayor of Braddock – a former steel town ravaged by poverty – is unlikely to have many fans among the cufflink crowd. Earlier this week, Fetterman joined striking teachers in Scranton, calling their current contract an “abomination.” The image of the towering 6-foot-8 former college football player guarding over a crowd of union members is hard to miss and it’s an image he sought to cultivate in the midst of the recent surge in strikes. Last month, Fetterman joined striking Kellogg workers at a grain factory in East Hempfield Township. “They posted record incomes and were able to be compensated for their essential food supply, and the workers deserve a share of that,” Fetterman said.

Lamb, a former Federal and Marine District Attorney, visited the striking steelworkers in Harrison in April, but his language was more tempered, saying he “respects[s] their right to strike ”and calling on management to“ respect the legal rights and demands of these workers and start negotiations ”. (In the House, Lamb chairs the Congressional Steel Caucus, a bipartisan group of lawmakers who “represent regions with steelmakers or care about the health of the US steel industry.”)

Fetterman, for his part, received a federal contribution of $ 1,000 from a PNC Bank employee in 2016 – but this cycle, his overall fundraising eclipses Lamb’s. Fetterman has raised $ 9.3 million since January, while Lamb has raised $ 2.6 million during the same period. Commercial banks as well as securities and investments are the main industries supporting Lamb’s campaign, accounting for some $ 35,000 and $ 206,000 in contributions respectively, according to data compiled by OpenSecrets. By comparison, commercial banks did not make up a large enough share of contributions to Fetterman’s campaign to be on his list of major industry supporters, while securities and investments made up $ 41,000 in contributions.

Like Lamb, however, Fetterman also enjoys the support of his father, having received over $ 45,000 in federal campaign contributions from him. Fetterman’s father, Karl Fetterman, owns a small business. Data from the Federal Election Commission identifies him as an “insurance agent” who works at Kling Bros. Insurance LLC. Insurance is among the main supporters of Fetterman’s industry, accounting for some $ 36,000 in campaign contributions.

The vast majority of Fetterman’s contributions to the campaign come from small donors, while the reverse is true for Lamb. 68 percent of contributions to Fetterman’s campaign came from small individual contributors compared to 8 percent for Lamb, according to data compiled by OpenSecrets.

Love or hate Lamb’s trade policy, you can’t say he’s not upfront about them. “Part of the billionaire and ultra-rich focus that people are putting in the news right now – it’s good, it’s valid, it’s not enough to fund everything we want. do, “Lamb said last month, referring to the heated debate over how to fund Biden’s signature Build Back Better legislation. “Well, the combined cost of everything Democrats are proposing to do right now goes way beyond what billionaires are ever going to realistically pay. “

Correction: November 16, 2021
This story has been updated to clarify that Conor Lamb received over $ 100,000 in campaign contributions from PNC Bank employees and officers, not the bank itself.


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