Reforming Wall Street is a hot topic on Capitol Hill these days. Congress is currently weighing two financial reform bills that would, to varying degrees, reshape the way the financial system is regulated.
Still, Wall Street's influence in Washington appears to be as strong as ever. After all, it was just last spring that Senator Dick Durbin, frustrated by pushback on bankruptcy reform, denounced the financial sector's influence on the Senate: the banks, he said, "they frankly own the place." The Center for Responsive Politics, a research group that tracks money in politics, reports that financial industries -- the finance, insurance and real estate sectors, specifically -- have been one of the biggest benefactors to Congress over the past two decades:
"The finance, insurance and real estate sector has given $2.3 billion to candidates, leadership PACs and party committees since 1989, which eclipses every other sector. Nineteen percent of total contributions from the employees and political action committees across all sectors came from the financial sector."
And while campaign contributions don't equate to wrongdoing, it's worth noting that, while lawmakers ponder reforming the financial sector, the industry's campaign contributions have remained strong:
"Even with a number of large financial institutions folding or merging since last fall, the sector has still given more to federal candidates and party committees than any other sector this year at $78.2 million. Current lawmakers have brought in $661.6 million from the sector through their candidate committees and leadership PACs, with Democrats collecting 53 percent of that."
We took a look at the Center for Responsive Politics's database, OpenSecrets.org, to see which members of Congress have so far received Wall Street money for the 2010 election cycle. The answers may surprise you. Check out our slideshow of the top 15 recipients and choose which politician may be taking too much money from Wall Street.