Did Wall Street Money Influence Hagel’s Vote?

The 700 Billion dollar Wall Street bailout package remains a highly controversial issue among voters. Nebraska's Senator Chuck Hagel was among those who voted in favor of the plan.

Thursday he spoke at a forum on health care at the University of Nebraska. It was our first opportunity to ask him about his vote.  The Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit group in Washington, studied contributions made to lawmakers who supported the bailout.

Their findings? On average those who voted in favor received some 51 percent more in campaign contributions from sources in finance, insurance and real estate. Some think it's something to consider.

The total price tag for the financial rescue plan near one trillion dollars.

Despite calls to his office running 50-to-1 against the bailout, Senator Hagel voted for it.

We examined contributions made to his 1996 and 2002 campaigns. They include many now well known Wall Street firms and banks. Companies like American International Group, better known as AIG, gave individual contributions of more than $3000 dollars. The now bankrupt Lehman Brothers, $2300 dollars.

Even Fannie Mae, the mortgage giant who along with Freddie Mac, was given a pre bailout-bailout to the tune of $200 billion by the Government was a contributer to Hagel for Senate campaign, $1000 dollars.

The question some are asking. Did that influence his vote?

Now it's worth noting Chuck Hagel is not seeking re-election.  Some say that gives him the freedom to truly vote his conscience, futher these types of contributions are not uncommon, and can be found on both sides of the aisle. Including in the records of many lawmakers who voted no.  We should also mention that Nebraska's other Senator, Ben Nelson, also voted in favor of the bailout.