ORLANDO, Florida. The new chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, leading the investigation into two of the biggest bank failures in history, said on Monday his political team returned all donations from a fundraiser with bank executives in the boardroom of Signature Bank just days before its collapse.
And the chairman, Rep. Patrick McHenry, RN.C., rejected proposals that he should withdraw from the high-profile congressional investigation, saying he could not be influenced by campaign money.
“When people donate to me, it confirms my agenda, not the other way around,” McHenry told reporters during a voice-over briefing on the bank crash. shopping mall.”
McHenry, joined by fellow GOP committee chairman and speaker Kevin McCarthy, answered fundraising questions on the same day he gave a private presentation to fellow Republicans about the banking collapse at the GOP rally in Orlando.
After the briefing, McCarthy defended McHenry.
“I think the chairman was very clear,” McCarthy said. “He doesn’t collect money because these people influence him. People provide resources – and there is a limited amount someone can provide in the process – based on their own philosophy and principles.”
Bloomberg first reported on Monday that Signature co-founder and chairman Scott Shea held a fundraiser for McHenry at the bank’s New York headquarters on March 2 — 10 days before regulators shut it down. Bank executives and other donors paid $1,000 to participate in the fundraiser, with sponsorships worth $2,900 and placement costs $5,800, Bloomberg reported, citing an invitation to the event.
Campaign donations from Silicon Valley and Signature banks have become a political headache for dozens of other lawmakers—Republicans and Democrats alike—as Congress and the Biden administration launch investigations to get to the bottom of historic bank failures.
McHenry’s Democratic financial services colleague, Rep. Maxine Waters of California, told Politico that she is returning a $2,500 donation the Silicon Valley Bank made to her in late 2020 when she was committee chair, although her office did not respond to NBC questions. News.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., donated campaign contributions from former Silicon Valley Bank CEO Greg Becker and the bank’s political action committee to charity, his CNBC office said. The McCarthy campaign and various PACs have also received tens of thousands of dollars from the SVB over the years, according to USA Today.
The Silicon Valley Bank PAC has donated to more than a dozen lawmakers in recent election cycles. Since 2015, the PAC has donated $10,000 to McHenry in four separate contributions. Senator Mark Warner, D-VA, who serves on the Senate finance and banking committees, has also received $7,500 from PAC SVB since 2016 and an additional $2,900 from the bank’s then-CEO.
Representatives for McCarthy, Warner and McHenry did not respond to requests for comment on these donations.
McHenry and Waters said they will hold their first hearing on March 29 when they begin investigating the collapse of both Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank this month. Witnesses include Martin Grunberg, chairman of the board of directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and Michael Barr, vice chairman for oversight of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.
Since the two banks closed, these federal agencies have taken several steps, including creating a facility to lend to banks during times of financial stress, to prevent the infection from spreading to other banks across the country.
“So far we see that these two agencies are operating in accordance with the law,” McHenry said. “What we don’t know is the key decisions that were made that weekend, which have had a very busy 12 days since then. Do they have better options that they didn’t take advantage of because of some ideological criticism of the regulators and this administration? But we’re going to do these things.”
Since the bank collapse, President Joe Biden has sought to build confidence in the US banking system as his administration pursues accountability for those involved. The Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday launched an investigation into the bankruptcy of the bank.
When asked if there should be consequences for the bank’s failure, McHenry replied that a number of bank executives had already been fired.
“When these two banks were taken over by the FDIC, their executives were fired, right? Bondholders went broke, investors went broke. So it’s already done, OK. When it comes to who failed here, that’s the reason we have oversight,” McHenry said.