Super-Congress: House Democrats edition
Lobbyists and special-interests have given over $3 million to the super-committee members’ campaigns over the past 5 years. These special-interest groups include defense contractors, health-care companies, and unions, all groups very interested in the super-committee’s task of cutting a trillion and a half dollars from the Federal budget. The Business Roundtable is requesting that the Super-committee to not close tax loopholes. The Roundtable has also made it clear that they believe that the corporate tax rate should be cut to below 25% (it currently stands at 35% with well-documented loopholes). The Business Roundtable spent over $10 million a year from 08-10, with over $5 million spent so far this year. On the other hand, the major drug company Pfiser is saying it will fight all Medicare cuts. Drug companies contributed $112 billion in to last year’s Affordable Health Care Act, helping Democrats get the support they needed for the bill. Pfizer paid for 83 lobbyists and spent $13.38 million, more than any other drug company.
A great Guardian article points out:
“The legalised system of quasi-bribery known as the American campaign finance system allows millions of dollars to flow from individuals and corporations to support federal candidates. Not a single member of Congress attains a coveted seat without the monetary support of key special interests. Those favours must be repaid – either in helpful legislation, or protection from taxation and other federal interference……You can see how it works. Over the years, Washington has evolved into a highly oiled special-interest machine, plying candidates with money, on one hand, and grooming insiders to help close the deal, on the other. So far, this ethically corrupt system has proven extraordinarily resistant to reform.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) announced she had selected Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.), Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Rep. Xavier Becerra (Calif.) for the super-committee on Thursday.
Beccara is now pitching his seat as a fundraising tool. An announcement for a Wall Street driven $1,500-per-plate fundraiser on August 31st was made the same day Beccara was selected for the committee. The Investment Company Institute (they have spent about 2 and a half million dollars in lobbying this year) is the one touting the fundraiser for Becerra.
Some notable donors to Becarra include New York Life Insurance Company ($35,000), American College of Radiology ($28,500), American Physical Therapy Association ($27,500), American Society of Anesthesiologists ($27,000), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers ($25,000), and Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. ($25,000). He has also received (directly and to his PAC) 1.5 million dollars in PAC money. Health-care companies donated $200,000 to Becarra’s campaign in his last re-election cycle (including $5,500 from Pfizer). One of his former counsels (Arshi Siddiqui) now works for the lobbying giant Akin Gump. He also received 5,000 dollars from Boeing (one of the largest defense contractors in the country).
Van Hollen has received money from Lockheed Martin ($35,000), New York Life Insurance Company ($30,000), Credit Union National Association ($27,500), American Association Of Orthopaedic Surgeons ($25,000), American Association For Justice ($22,500), United Food & Commercial Workers International Union ($22,500). He is also received over 16,000 dollars from lobbying group Arent Fox, a (relatively speaking) small firm that lobbies for everything from hospitals to defensive contractors. Law firms gave him over $150,000 in the last cycle.
Major donors to Clyburn include PriceWaterhouseCoopers ($35,000), Amgen Inc. ($31,500), and Lockheed Martin ($31,000). General Electric ($31,500), Verizon ($16,500), and lobbying group Podesta group ($19,900) also have been some of the top donors to Clyburn. Law firms gave him $229,000 and lobbyists donated over $100,000 to Clyburn in his last re-election. Pfizer also gave him over $15,000 dollars according to the Center for Responsive Politics.