UBS AG hasn’t exactly been a model company lately — the Swiss investment bank has paid more than $1 billion in fines for financial crimes in recent years.
But that doesn’t seem to have scared away many lawmakers or President Obama. To the contrary, the bank is quite well placed in official Washington, with campaign contributions and personal ties connecting it to both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
The company has dramatically increased its involvement in politics in recent decades, even as the bank has paid off three large federal settlements over the past three years.
This month, UBS settled with the Justice Department for $160 million over charges that it rigged bidding for municipal bond sales. The bank “admits, acknowledges and accepts responsibility for” the charges that it manipulated bond auctions to aid its bottom line at the expense of local taxpayers, the department announced in a release.
The company’s political action committee was cutting checks to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle as that deal was reached, according to Federal Election Commission records. In March, it sent $15,000 to both the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee.