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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Big PACs Throw Money At Supercommittee Members

Want to get a huge influx of cash? Looks like all you have to do is be part of the supercommittee.

From the time the six Republicans and six Democrats were appointed to the special committee to reduce the deficit, suspicions about lobbyists’ influence on these politicians arose. AP reported in August that the 12 members had received more than $3 million in the past five years from special interests. Given those contributions, the supercommittee members will no doubt consider their donors’ requests instead of acting in the best interests of the general public when making their proposal.

Now, as the supercommittee continues its deliberations, new reports reveal that special interests have stepped up their efforts to influence the politicians and ensure that their sectors are not adversely affected. The watchdog Sunlight Foundation writes:

PACs for 19 of the biggest political donors in the country, as determined by Center for Responsive Politics, have reported contributing more than $83,000 to 10 of the 12 members of the super committee or their leadership PACs, Federal Eelection Commission filings show. It’s the first glimpse available of fundraising by super committee members as they wrestle with their mandate to recommend at least $1.2 trillion in cuts to the debt, increased revenues, or a combination of both.

… The totals represent just a fraction of what super committee members and their leadership PACs have raised since being named to the committee.

Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., raised $26,500 from PACs of the big donors, with most going to his leadership PAC, Continuing a Majority PAC. Pfizer, Goldman Sachs and Comcast all sent $5,000 checks to the fundraising committees of the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee within days of his appointment to the debt reduction panel.

Rep. Xavier Becerra, R-Calif., who was criticized when a fundraising invitation sent out on his behalf advertised his new position on the super committee, raised $15,000 from the big PACs, including $2,500 checks from the American Health Care Association and the American Hospital Association sent within days of his appointment.

Pfizer’s PAC reported the highest amount of contributions — $10,000 — to super committee members; the pharmaceutical manufacturer also donated $5,000 to Sen Max Baucus, D-Mont.

Defense contractor Lockheed Martin contributed to the most super committee members–Camp ($2,500), Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C. ($1,000), Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio ($2,000) and the leadership PAC of Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., Campaign for our Country ($2,500).

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. and Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., were the only members of the committee who did not receive donations.

Considering these special interests, it won’t be surprising if military contractors, banks, and pharmaceutical companies avoid the harshest measures when the supercommittee unveils its proposal.

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