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Democracy for sale
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Since 2006, the finance, insurance and real estate industries (FIRE sector) spent $4.2 billion influencing House and Senate leaders — $1,331 a minute — according to Elect Democracy's new report, "Meet the F.I.R.E. Sector: How Wall Street is Burning Democracy."

The report details the voting records of members of Congress on seven pieces of major legislation: the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act of 2008, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act of 2011, and 2011 trade agreements with Korea, Panama and Colombia.

The report details the total FIRE sector contributions to each member of Congress and assigns a loyalty rate based upon how votes match the FIRE sector's positions.

Sen. Orrin Hatch received $3,071,777 and won a loyalty rating of 100 percent; Sen. Mike Lee received $30,350 and received 100 percent; Rep. Jason Chaffetz received $218,400 and scored 100 percent.

Rep. Jim Matheson received $1,230,387 and scored 57 percent, and Rep. Rob Bishop received $252,740 and tallied 43 percent.

Three sold out democracy; two did not do so entirely. Can democracy in America survive when it is so readily up for sale?

Virginia Lee

Salt Lake City

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