The Occupy Wall Street crowd, I mean. I’ll bash them every chance I get, but when they have a valid case to make, I’ll support them. Here’s such a case. File it under the “what did you expect would happen” tag.
The Sunlight Foundation tracks money in Washington. They noticed that the members of the congressional “super-committee” tasked with coming up with future savings are a veritable money sponge:
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…
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.
It’s important to note that this tracking only looked at PAC
shakedowns donations, which are a fraction of the total amount going to the members. Information from the congressmen themselves is filed quarterly, and won’t be available until later.
But you can bet that Patty Murray (D-WA) will show up on the top of some lists. She heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, charged with raising money for candidates for the Senate. The Daily Beast called her a double agent:
The reason: while Murray will be one of 12 lawmakers charged with crafting $1.5 trillion in budget cuts, she also sits atop the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which will be raising money aggressively for her party.
“We thought the choice of Senator Murray said ‘business as usual,’” Mary Boyle, the spokeswoman for Common Cause, tells The Daily Beast. “It is a message to special interests to back your truck up to Senator Murray’s office and dump your money here.”
To Boyle’s point, the supercommittee is being called a “lobbyists’ bonanza” in Washington, a one-stop shop for special interests to channel campaign donations in an effort to save their clients’ bacon as the members debate which programs, tax cuts, loopholes, and special favors will get the ax to shrink the federal debt.
I don’t begrudge the PAC’s sending their money to the people who have a strangle hold on their future. The government has become too big, too powerful, and too easily manipulated by the few for the benefit of their favored corporation or union. The answer isn’t to take money out of Wall Street, it’s to take it out of Washington.