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Report Looks at the Money Behind Congressional Leaders

4 years ago
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Three of the four most powerful members of Congress may not always be on the same page politically, but they have one thing in common: each receives money from AT&T, their biggest financial backer, according to a new analysis by the Center for Public Integrity.

Over the past 30 years, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader John Boehner together have taken more than $525,000 in campaign cash over their careers from AT&T and its subsidiaries, according to the report, titled "Who Bankrolls Congress?".


The watchdog group looked at the money behind those three men and also House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and found some trends among party lines.

Democrats Reid and Pelosi rely heavily on trial lawyers and labor unions for financial backing. Those interests make up eight of the top ten supporters of Pelosi's political action committee and five of Reid's. Meanwhile, only one labor union made Boehner's top ten and none were on McConnell's.

The two Republicans took most of their money from corporations and trade groups. All ten top McConnell donors represented those interests and nine out of Boehner's top ten did, compared with five for Reid and just two for Pelosi.

The financial services industry hedges its bets with bipartisan donations. A PAC affiliated with JPMorgan Chase was on the top ten lists of three of the four leaders, while Bank of America showed up on two. The industry's American Bankers Association was also listed on two of the four ledgers.

The complete analysis, which looked at three decades' worth of finance reports from the current congressional leadership, can be read here.

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44 Comments

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eyeforeye42

You don't get money for not singing and dancing. Anyone who takes corporate funds is beholden to the funders. Unfortunately that is the only way currently for people to get in office if they are not rich. No body likes public funding but 2 things would go far to remove the amount of funds needed to elect people. 1. term limits and 2. limits to campaigning to not more than 2 or 3 months before the election date. Term limits ensures rotation and changes and the time limit limits how much one can actually spend in a period of time with the limited airwaves capacity and media print

June 08 2010 at 5:28 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
drhinesmid

PAC contributions are bribes that congress legalized for themselves. As long as they continue to accept this money they are on-the-take and their integrity is compromised. They can call it what they want but it is what it is.

June 08 2010 at 4:33 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
medrecruiter21

As my mom always says, you never see someone leave congress poorer than they came in. They all take the money.

June 07 2010 at 11:55 PM Report abuse +14 rate up rate down Reply
kingnus

The best government money can buy.

June 07 2010 at 11:16 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to kingnus's comment
Jeff

Actually ... I think we have the worst government money can buy.

June 07 2010 at 11:36 PM Report abuse +13 rate up rate down Reply
barnardb3

Let's call it like it is. Donations from all unions, special interest groups and corporations are LEGAL BRIBES!

June 07 2010 at 10:10 PM Report abuse +15 rate up rate down Reply
truthforfreedom

So what? They all take money from big business. It is normal business practice. Business needs to satisfy every side, so they all get some. No big deal.

June 07 2010 at 7:40 PM Report abuse -13 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to truthforfreedom's comment
barnardb3

Are you truly so blind that you don't see any problem with large companies (special interest groups) donating money to help get someone elected? Wouldn't it be very easy to believe that those companies, special interest groups, unions et al are expecting a return for their contribution? Take a look at the laws that are created and see how each of these entities are given special consideration.
If there were laws that prevented donations from these or any group to a politicians election, perhaps, just maybe, laws would be created FOR THE PEOPLE and not for corporations and unions in this country.

June 07 2010 at 10:06 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
Michael

Is it any mystery that a former telco executive was picked to run the new GM? Monopolies and politicians are natural allies, joining forces to vacuum dollars out of the pockets of taxpayers and the captive clients of "regulated" industries.

June 07 2010 at 7:33 PM Report abuse +15 rate up rate down Reply
pgbrooke

Despite what our vaunted Supreme Court seems to believe, we must get unions, corporations, PACs and churches out of political funding. All campaigns should be funded by individual taxpayers with a very low limit on what any one indiviudal can contribute.

June 07 2010 at 7:18 PM Report abuse +25 rate up rate down Reply

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