Monday, June 8, 2009

What Campaign Finance Reform???

This is going to be a long one folks. According to, members of Congress are finding a way to line their pockets and get their piece of the stimulus money. Here's how it works.

A member of Congress sits on a certain committee. Said member may have a non-profit or charity group with personal or family ties. Certain groups of industry and lobbyists on behalf of certain groups can donate any amount of money to said charity or non-profit. Nice work if you can get it, eh? It was only in 2007 that corporations and lobbyists were mandated to provide information when they donated to a charity or event connected with lawmakers.

Since the 2007 ethics agreement, USA Today has kept track of the lobbying reports. Wanna know how much? I hope you're sitting down: a total of $35.8 million in 2008. That's between a total of almost 2,800 reports filed. About $28 million went to non-profit groups with direct ties of members of Congress. Sickening. I've read and would suggest for anyone to read Outrage by Dick Morris. He details this scheme nicely.

Here is a list from listing some of the groups, their ties, and how much they got:

Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

Organization: Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

Connection: Named for Kennedy, wife on board.

Received: $5,050,000

Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C.

Organization: James E. Clyburn Research and Scholarship Foundation

Connection: Foundation named for congressman.

Received: $326,224

Financial documents: IRS Form 990

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.

Organization: The Faith and Politics Institute

Connection: The congressman is co-chair emeritus of the institute.

Received: $206,000

Financial documents: IRS Form 990

Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind.

Organization: Richard G. Lugar Center for Renewable Energy

Connection: Center named for the senator.

Received: $140,000

Financial documents: Unavailable

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.

Organization: Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute

Connection: Alzheimer's research institute named for senator's late mother.

Received: $65,000

Financial documents: IRS Form 990

Sen. Susan CollinsR-Maine

Organization: Alliance for Health Reform

Connection: Senator is co-chair of Alliance for Health Reform, along with Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.

Received: $45,000

Financial documents: IRS Form 990

Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind.

Organization: Frontier Foundation

Connection: Rep. Buyer's daughter was president of the group, and its treasurer is the executive director of his PAC.

Received: $40,000

Financial documents: IRS Form 990

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas

Organization: Joe Barton Family Foundation

Connection: Foundation founded by Rep. Barton. His daughter-in-law, Amy Barton, is the executive director.

Received: $35,000

Financial documents: IRS Form 990

Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va.

Organization: Robert H. Mollohan Family Charitable Foundation

Connection: Mollohan is on the executive committee; named for his father.

Received: $25,000

Financial documents: IRS Form 990

Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif.

Organization: Joe Baca Foundation

Connection: Congressman is president of the foundation named for him.

Received: $19,163

Financial documents: IRS Form 990

© 2009 USA Today. All rights reserved. Reprinted Via Rightslink.

Personally, I'm surprised the UAW hasn't donated to Ted "Chappaquidick Fats" Kennedy's charity to fund an underwater car museum.

Yes, I'm bitter.


Bungalow Bill said...

Why didn't they list Obama's special interest ties from his Senate days? I believe they are still relevant. Remember how much he got from Fannie and Freddie?

blackandgoldfan said...

I don't know why they didn't list Barry's "gifts". And yes, they should be VERY relevant! That's one reason he decided to bail out Fannie and Freddie.

The Law said...

Well, news like this is always disturbing. I recognize a lot of those names in the news too, so it stings a bit more, because I agree with some of their philosophies. No matter what route you go... government or coroporation, there is always bound to be a degre of corruption. I have argued many times and very loudly that we need VERY strict regulations so this kind of thing doesn't happen. I don't know the full story of this post, but on the surface it sure looks grimey.

blackandgoldfan said...

Law, Unfortunately, this is the way Washington has worked for many years. Campaign finance was drafted to limit the contributions of donors and lobbyists to election campaigns, but the loophole of non-profit charity donations to groups affiliated with Congressional members was never closed. I really suggest "Outrage" by Dick Morris. He devotes a full chapter to the nepotism and dirty dealings of lobbyists. Thanks for coming over!