During the 2000 presidential campaign, MBNA chairman Charles M. Cawley raised $370,000 for George W. Bush, including $240,000 from his own employees. He also personally contributed
$5,000 to Bush’s Florida recount team and $100,000 to the Bush/Cheney inauguration. All that cash made MBNA Bush’s largest corporate donor. (Cawley, now retired, has pledged to
raise at least $200,000 as a Bush “Ranger” this year.)

The president has expressed his gratitude by promising to sign a bill that would make it harder for maxed-out Americans to declare bankruptcy. Credit card users owe MBNA $82 billion; the proposed law—passed by the House, currently working its way through the Senate—would boost the bank’s profits by $75 million a year.

MBNA is not alone in its political largesse. You might think you’re just racking up frequent-flier miles every time you say “charge it.” But are you also supporting a political party? Below,
the total campaign contributions made by the 10 largest credit card companies in the 2000, 2002, and 2004 election cycles.

What's In Your Wallet?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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