Will Deficit-Fighting Super Committee Reveal Campaign Cash and Lobbyist Ties?

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Congress’ 12-member “Super Committee,” charged with crafting a plan to cut $1.2 trillion from the federal deficit in the next decade, is up and running. The bipartisan panel of veteran lawmakers first convened on Sept. 8, and is plowing ahead so as to meet its Nov. 23 deadline to deliver its budget-slashing recommendations.

As the fiscal fighting ramps up, fourteen good-government and transparency groups are calling for Super Committee members to publicize any campaign donations received and any lobbyist meetings while the committee does its work. The reasoning here is obvious: If committee members are meeting behind closed doors with, say, oil industry lobbyists at the same time they’re debating deficit-cutting measures, they could be swayed to oppose closing tax loopholes for oil companies, worth an estimated $4.4 billion a year—and the public would never know about it.

Failing to disclose donations and interactions with lobbyists, the DC-based Sunlight Foundation argues, “will reinforce the public’s mistrust of the deficit reduction process and risk delegitimizing the Committee’s work.”

At least one lawmaker, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), has said he won’t fundraise and will limit contact with lobbyists during his time on the Super Committee, which is made up of six House members and six Senators, split evenly between Democrats and Republicans.

Here’s the letter from good-government and transparency groups to the Super Committee:

14 Groups Call for Super Committee Transparency

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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.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

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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