Accepting Money From Lobbyists Is A Form Of Legalistic Bribery— And Everyone Knows It
Lobbyists are people who are hired to persuade members of Congress on a particular issue. They are brought in by many different industries, from private companies like Microsoft or ExxonMobil, to associations representing local governments, to nonprofits focused on hot-button legislation. Some organizations have in-house lobbyists, and others hire large firms that lobby Congress on a variety of topics.George Costanza is sick of all this money in politics:
We first checked in with the Lundergan Grimes campaign to see where they got their numbers. They linked us to a report by Open Secrets, a nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog website run by the Center for Responsive Politics.
The report, titled "Sincere or Strategic, Lobbyists Give Big," looked at trends in donations from federally registered lobbyists. If a company or organization spends a certain amount of money lobbying Congress, they’re required to register with the federal government. Open Secrets checks this database against the campaign finance disclosure reports that candidates file.
Open Secrets found that the 25 lobbyists who have contributed the most money to campaigns this cycle have already donated $1.9 million. Contributions are not party exclusive; five of those 25 gave strictly to Republicans, 11 gave to Democrats and a handful gave to both.
Open Secrets also released a list of the members of Congress who have received the most donations from lobbyists during the campaign cycle (since the start of 2013).
With $281,301 in contributions from lobbyists, McConnell topped the list, followed closely by House Speaker John Boehner at $278,380. McConnell has also received another $50,000 from family members of lobbyists.
…McConnell isn’t just the top congressional recipient of donations from lobbyists. According to his Open Secrets profile, he has also received more money than any other lawmaker since 2013 from a number of industries.
He’s No. 1 in campaign donations from people who work in the fields of— deep breath here— agriculture services, air transportation, auto dealers and manufacturers, building materials, business associations, coal mining, commercial banks, commercial TV and radio stations, electric utilities, food and beverage, food stores, general contractors, health services, home builders, insurance, medical devices and supplies, mining, mortgage bankers and brokers, pharmaceutical and health products, railroads, retirees, steel production and trucking.
When he last ran for re-election in 2008, McConnell, who was minority leader at the time, topped the list in two industries, coal mining and tobacco. He was fourth in contributions from lobbyists.
Since 1990, the K Street bribery industry spent $218,631,961 in federal elections, $179,476,017 of which went to incumbents. Removing members who also ran for president-- Hillary (the #1 all-time champion at $2,169,669), McCain, John Kerry, Barack Obama-- and people dead or retired, these are the dozen worst since 1990:
• Harry Reid (D-NV)- $1,741,621And if we just want to look at who the biggest crooks among current House members are, here's the dirty dozen (again, since 1990):
• Miss McConnell (R-KY)- $1,312,771
• Ed Markey (D-MA)- $1,230,608
• Mary Landrieu (D-LA)- $1,165,822
• John Boehner (R-OH)- $1,162,921
• Patty Murray (D-WA)- $1,153,953
• Maria Cantwell (D-WA)- $1,064,696
• Chuck Schumer (D-NY)- $1,005,327
• Robert Menendez (D-NJ)- $1,000,062
• Steny Hoyer (D-MD)- $972,682
• Orrin Hatch (R-UT)- $965,392
• Bill Nelson (D-FL)- $930,718
• John Boehner (R-OH)- $1,162,921You tell me— would America be better off without these people in Congress? And would America be better off if lobbyists who bribe politicians were arrested, tried and punished-- along with the bribe-takers?
• Steny Hoyer (D-MD)- $972,682
• Jim Moran (D-VA)- $844,249
• Charlie Rangel (D-NY)- $838,853
• John Dingell (D-MI)- $831,311
• Don Young (R-AK)- $728,932
• Dave Camp (R-MI)- $597,945
• Pete Visclosky (D-IN)- $569,889
• Ed Pastor (D-AZ)- $546,989
• Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)- $509,519
• Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)- $490,940
• Patrick Tiberi (R-OH)- $489,827