The Big Money Behind Congress’ New Super Committee

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), a member of Congress' new Super Committee to reduce the federal deficit.Louie Palu/Zuma

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The names are in, the roster filled out: Last week, Congressional leaders announced the twelve members of a new bipartisan “super committee,” created by the debt ceiling bill, to find another $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction. Those lawmakers are: Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), and Max Baucus (D-Mont.); and Reps. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), and Jim Clyburn (D-SC).

These 12 lawmakers cover the ideological gamut, from the most hawkish fiscal conservatives to deep blue liberal Democrats, but they all have this in common: Their careers have been greased by the money of powerful lobbies and political advocacy groups. Using data from the Center for Responsive Politics, the folks at MapLight, a group focusing on money in American politics, have calculated the biggest donors behind the Super Committee.

The heaviest hitters are no surprise: lawyers and law firms (who often top lists of political donations), big banks such as Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase, and political outfits including the lefty EMILY’s List and the conservative Club for Growth. As the Super Committee begins debating further spending cuts and (maybe) revenue increases as part of a deficit reduction package due by November, it’s worth bearing in mind, as with any big debate in Washington, that there are big donors behind the lawmakers at the bargaining table.

Here are the top 10 industries that have donated to Super Committee members:

Industry Total
Lawyers/Law Firms $31,529,149
Securities & Investment $11,221,416
Democratic/Liberal $9,647,264
Health Professionals $9,321,588
Real Estate $8,793,350
Education $8,568,460
Misc. Business $7,902,021
Business Services $6,563,524
Women’s Issues $6,396,728
Insurance $5,693,595

Here are top ten political action committees or company employees who’ve given to Super Committee members:

Organization Total
Club for Growth $990,066
Microsoft Corp. $810,100
University of California $629,495
Goldman Sachs $592,684
EMILY’s List $586,835
Citigroup Inc. $561,081
JPMorgan Chase & Co. $494,316
Bank of America $349,566
Skadden, Arps, et al. $347,356
General Electric $340,935

 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

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Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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