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Sen. Dorgan's Amendment to S.3217 is Tabled

By: CCU System

There was some strange behavior in Congress today as several Democrats went against their own party and voted with Republicans to table the Democrat sponsored Dorgan amendment to the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 (S.3217). The official purpose of Byron Dorgan [D-ND]'s amendment (according to the Library of Congress) is To ban naked credit default swaps.

At first glance, it seems like many of the rogue voters were influenced by lobbies.

For instance, a group of 3 Senators Sen. Dodd [D-CT], Sen. Carper [D-DE], and Sen. Johnson [D-SD], who voted with Republicans to table the amendment, have individually received more campaign contributions than other Senators (see Table 1 below).

Senator Interest Group Amt. Money (Senator) Avg. Amt. Money (Other Senators) Rank Senator / All Senators
Sen. Thomas Carper
[D-DE]
Credit agencies & finance companies $127,120.00 $16,631.74 8/112
Sen. Tim Johnson
[D-SD]
Credit agencies & finance companies $208,500.00 $16,631.74 2/112
Sen. Christopher Dodd
[D-CT]
Credit agencies & finance companies $289,000.00 $16,631.74 1/112
Table 1: Significant Campaign Contributions to Democratic Voters

However, Sen. Johnson [D-SD] might be trying to appear more conservative, as he is more liberal than his constituency.

Sen. Carper, and Sen. Johnson might have been worried about their constituencies, as many residents in their states work for industries that are affected by this vote (see Table 2 below).

Senator Industry Constituency % Constituency
Employed by Industry
% Const. Rank Employed
by Industry / All States
Sen. Thomas Carper
[D-DE]
Banks and Credit Delaware 3% 1/50
Sen. Tim Johnson
[D-SD]
Banks and Credit South Dakota 2% 2/50
Table 2: Relevant Industries to Democratic Voters

The vote need 50% of Representative's support to pass, and 56% voted aye, winning Republicans the vote by a slim margin of 6%.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. III-0917261. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.