NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- When Jamie Dimon faces the Senate Banking Committee today, one can expect the kind of fine drama that is sorely lacking on Broadway nowadays. Time magazine calls it "the public whipping of Jamie Dimon." The silver-maned JPMorgan CEO, rigorously prepped, will strive to keep the hubris in check as he submits to indignant questioning over the bank's $3 billion (and counting) derivatives trading loss. Expect Oscar-worthy performances from all concerned.Only one thing will be missing. By all rights, JPMorgan should file a Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission to disclose the activities of an affiliated entity: the Senate Banking Committee. It's only right. I mean, shouldn't the viewing public know that they're all on the same team? Long before the Supreme Court in Citizens United swept away any remaining strictures on legalized bribery of politicians, the Senate Banking Committee had been taken over by JPMorgan and the securities industry. When listening to the sharp questioning -- and perhaps even occasional fireworks! -- today, it's important to keep that in mind. What's happening is a ritual for public consumption. Dimon has nothing to fear from the Senate Banking Committee. It's in his pocket. I don't think I'm being especially harsh. I'm just providing a cursory analysis of a public record that stinks to high heaven. In a statement on the committee's website announcing the hearing a few weeks ago, chairman Tim Johnson, Democrat of South Dakota, said: "Over the past week, my staff and Ranking Member Shelby's staff have jointly held briefings with regulators regarding the JPMorgan Chase trading loss, as well a briefing with the company itself. Our due diligence has made it clear that the Banking Committee should hear directly from JPMorgan Chase's CEO Jamie Dimon," Let's go over that statement, beginning with the word "staff." During the committee's hearings today, if you catch it live on cable TV, you may notice a gent by the name of Dwight Fettig in the background while the senators are thundering along. Well, he's not very well known so you won't "notice" him exactly, but you can bet that Dimon will notice him, and not because he is the committee's staff director. As was pointed out recently in the online newsletter Republic Report, Fettig worked as a lobbyist for JPMorgan in 2009.
It's not just the firm that Fettig worked for at the time, Porterfield, Lowenthal & Fettig. Fettig himself was personally registered as JPMorgan's lobbyist, working on the bank's behalf to deal with "financial services regulatory reform" and the "Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2009.″ The name of the latter legislation is now commonly known as Dodd-Frank, the feeble attempt to prevent another financial crisis, which Dimon hasn't missed an opportunity to attack. Fettig was paid $448,225 a year before moving over to the banking committee, where he makes a lot less. But not to worry. You can bet that he'll be back through the revolving door at the next available opportunity, with the Banking Committee gig further enhancing his earning power on K Street. Committee chairman Johnson's former staff director, Naomi Gendler Camper, has already gone through that revolving door. She is a lobbyist in the Morgan's Washington office. So remember where to go if you want a job at JPMorgan Chase: Room 136, Hart Senate Office Building. Johnson has his own reasons to feel grateful toward the man who'll be sitting in front of him today, and the industry of which he is the most voluble and annoying spokesperson. Thousands upon thousands of green reasons. Over the past five years, Johnson's top source of campaign contributions has been the securities and investment industry, according to Open Secrets, which monitors such things. That's a total of $350,000, with the next largest sum, $338,000, coming from insurance companies, which also fall under the banking committee's jurisdiction, and commercial banks not far down the list at $229,000. Who's at the top of the list of individual and PAC contributors? Why, JPMorgan Chase, of course, with $39,000 in contributions. Richard Shelby of Alabama, the ranking Republican, can also be expected to give Dimon some sharp, if courteous, questioning. Very courteous, I would hope. Over the past five years, he has raked in $819,000 in campaign contributions from the securities and investment industry, which makes its beneficence to Johnson seem niggardly in comparison. During that same period, Shelby received $473,000 from the free-spending insurance industry, $307,000 from finance and credit companies and $295,000 from real estate companies. (I'm mentioning only the industries that fall under the committee's jurisdiction, by the way. Both men also got hefty sums from lawyers, but that could mean any number of corporate affiliations.)
I am sad to report that JPMorgan was only the No. 2 source of individual and PAC contributions for Shelby since 2007, $72,000, far below the $108,000 received from Travelers Cos. But not to worry. Shelby will have plenty of opportunities to improve his worthiness to JPMorgan in the weeks ahead. I have every expectation that he will work hard to improve that number. He has called for the repeal of Dodd-Frank, and his colleague on the other side of the aisle, Chairman Johnson, wants to weaken rules for international derivatives trades. Now that's the kind of thing that warms the cockles of Jamie Dimon's heart, and is certainly far more consequential than whatever jawboning he may or may not be hearing from them today. And so it goes, up and down the table of fiercely glaring senators. For instance, over the past five years, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, ranking Democrat below Johnson, received $421,000 from the securities industry and $29,850 from JPMorgan, his first- and third-highest sources of funding, respectively. Next in seniority is Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York. He doesn't rank JPMorgan among his highest contributors, but that's more than made up for by the contributions he has received from individuals and PACs in the securities and investment industry -- $2.8 million over the past five years. Mike Crapo, Republican of Idaho, highest-ranking Republican below Shelby, received a far less consequential (compared to Schumer) $397,000 from the securities and investment industry over the past five years and $34,000 from individuals and PACs at JPMorgan. But it's the ranking that counts. They were his biggest sources of campaign financing during that period. It's fashionable nowadays to run against Wall Street, and to be suitably surly when facing corporate execs at a public hearing. But once the TV lights are turned off, the press files its stories and the hard work of influence-peddling begins, you can bet that the Senate Banking Committee knows perfectly well who its true masters are. Gary Weiss's most recent book is AYN RAND NATION: The Hidden Struggle for America's Soul, published by St. Martin's Press.