A great catch on Stanford by Lindsay Renick Mayer of the Center for Responsive Politics.
To summarize: The cycle during which the Stanford Financial Group gave the most in political contributions was 2001-2002. That may have been because, at that time, Congress was debating the Financial Services Antifraud Network Act, which, according to CRP, would have "created a computer network linking the databases of state and federal banking, securities and insurance regulators to curb financial fraud."
That bill ended up passing the House, but not the Senate. And according to lobbying reports, says Renick Mayer, Stanford Financial Group lobbied on the bill. (It's not hard to guess their position.)
During that same cycle, Renick Mayer continues, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee took in more than $800,000 from the firm. At the time, the DSCC was chaired by Florida Democratic senator Bill Nelson. And Nelson is the current member of Congress who has received more campaign cash from Stanford and its employees than any other, raking in $45,900.
Leaving Nelson aside, could that 2002 bill to combat financial fraud, which died in the Senate after lobbying from Stanford, have helped authorities uncover the firm's alleged fraud much sooner? Seems worth asking...