Washington Babylon — March 21, 2008, 9:59 am

I Thought the Banks Were Broke?

Plenty still on hand to buy lawmakers

The American financial industry seems to be teetering on the brink of collapse. The feds have stepped in to save Bear Stearns. Other big firms are hemorrhaging money and racking up huge losses. The stock market is swinging like a yo-yo. And the United States, long dependent on Middle Eastern countries for oil, is now dependent on them for capital as well.

So it’s heartening to see that even during such troubled times, banks and finance institutions have scraped together the money to throw a fundraiser next month for Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas of the Finance Committee. Invitations to the event, to be held at Washington’s fashionable Bistro Bis restaurant on April 15, have just gone out. A quartet of four lobbyists is sponsoring the affair: Steve Patterson of J.P. Morgan; Ed Hill of Bank of America; Heather Wingate of Citigroup; and Scott Talbot of the Financial Services Roundtable. Of course, there are the very same institutions whose funny accounting and lending practices paved the way for the crisis now unfolding, having been abetted all along the way by the Bush Administration and Congress.

Roberts’s political career has been generously underwritten by banks and financial firms. They have given him $392,000 and $231,000, respectively, according to figures from the Center for Responsive Politics. Senator Roberts has been a good friend to his sponsors. So expect them to show their appreciation, and generously, by turning up at Bistro Bis with plenty more money.

Single Page

More from Ken Silverstein:

From the November 2013 issue

Dirty South

The foul legacy of Louisiana oil

Perspective October 23, 2013, 8:00 am

On Brining and Dining

How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy

Postcard October 16, 2013, 8:00 am

The Most Cajun Place on Earth

A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits 

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada



September 2014

Israel and Palestine

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Washington Is Burning

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On Free Will

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

They Were Awake

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content


Arab artists take up — and look past — regional politics
“When everyday life regularly throws up images of terror and drama and the technological sublime, how can a photographer compete?”
“Qalandia 2087, 2009,” by Wafa Hourani
“There was torture by the previous regime and by the current Iraqi regime,” Dr. Amin said. “Torture by our Kurdish government, torture by Syrians, torture by the U.S.”
Visiting His Own Grave © Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
The Tale of the Tape·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Heroin isn’t the weakness Art Pepper submits to; it’s the passion he revels in.”
Photograph (detail) © Laurie Pepper
The Soft-Kill Solution·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Policymakers, recognizing the growing influence of civil disobedience and riots on the direction of the nation, had already begun turning to science for a response."
Illustration by Richard Mia
New Books
New Books·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Almond insists that watching football does more than feed an appetite for violence. It’s a kind of modern-day human sacrifice, and it makes us more likely to go to war.”
Photograph by Harold Edgerton

Chance that a movie script copyrighted in the U.S. before 1925 was written by a woman:

1 in 2

Engineers funded by the United States military were working on electrical brain implants that will enable the creation of remote-controlled sharks.

Malaysian police were seeking fifteen people who appeared in an online video of the Malaysia-International Nude Sports Games 2014 Extravaganza, and Spanish police fined six Swiss tourists conducting an orgy in the back of a moving van for not wearing their seatbelts.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!


In Praise of Idleness


I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today