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Does Chaos on Wall Street Mean an End to Their Big Bonuses?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Hard Times?

Despite the economic downturn, a $700 billion rescue and a public outcry over excessive pay, some on Wall Street can still count on those hefty year-end bonuses.

Bloomberg News reports Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have set aside $6.9 and $6.4 billion respectively to pay for them. Merrill Lynch, which has experienced five straight quarters of losses and a 70 percent slide in its stock this year, has allocated about $6.7 billion.

Even some employees of Lehman Brothers, which in September declared the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history, will get the same bonus they received a year ago.

Workers at Merrill Lynch will actually receive larger bonuses than in 2007. That's because 3,000 employees have been laid off this year and the bonus money will be divided among fewer people.

Bang for the Buck

A Washington watchdog group says 93 percent of House races and 94 percent of Senate contests were won this year by the candidate who spent the most money.

That means that just 29 House candidates and two for the Senate won by spending less. The figures from the Center for Responsive Politics do not factor in races that are still undecided.

That House number is pretty consistent with figures from 2006 — 94 percent — and 2004 — 98 percent. But in the Senate, just 73 percent of races went to the highest spender two years ago and 88 percent in 2004.

The Center says the average cost of winning a House race this year was nearly $1.1 million, and almost $6.5 million for a Senate seat.

School of Hard Knocks

A Minnesota college student says she was attacked and called a racist for wearing a McCain-Palin campaign button.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports Augsburg College freshman Annie Grossmann says she was leaving an on-campus election-night viewing party when she was jumped by four African-American women.

Grossmann says she was called a racist and was punched in the face, causing the back of her head to hit a brick wall. She suffered blurred vision and is thought to have had a concussion.

School officials say they have looked at surveillance video and do not believe the attackers were students.

Vote Atonement

A Catholic priest in Greenville, South Carolina, says parishioners who voted for President-elect Obama should not receive Holy Communion until they have done penance.

The Reverend Jay Scott Newman tells the Greenville News that church teaching does not allow him to refuse communion based on political choices but that he will continue to deliver his message, saying, "Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exists constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil."

Mea Culpa

Georgia Republican Congressman Paul Broun has apologized for remarks we told you about Tuesday in which he expressed fears that President-elect Obama could establish a Marxist dictatorship. Broun also compared Mr. Obama to Adolf Hitler.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports Broun said in a radio interview, "I regret putting it that way. I apologize to anyone who has taken offense... the point I tried to make is that he is extremely liberal, he has promoted a lot of socialistic ideas."

FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.

With more than 35 years of journalism experience to draw from, Brit Hume currently serves as a senior political analyst for FOX News Channel (FNC) and contributes to all major political coverage. Hume also is regular panelist on FOX's weekly public affairs program, "FOX News Sunday."