Of the 12 members of the failed supercommittee that were tasked with cutting $1.2 trillion from the federal deficit, five have disclosed records with the Federal Election Commission stating that they’ve received bundled contributions from lobbyists exceeding $16,000.
Representative Dave Camp, R-Mich, is the only member of the committee that has reported receiving bundled contributions so far this cycle. All $32,000 he received was bundled by one lobbyist named Harry Sporidis. Sporidis works for the firm Polsinelli Shughart and represents a number of clients in the healthcare industry, including the National Association for Behavioral Health and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
According to the records, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash, has been the greatest supercommittee recipient of bundled contributions since 2009. She’s received just over $262,000 from large corporations including AT&T, Microsoft, Boeing, and Amazon, and well-known lobbyists like Tony Podesta who represents many prominent clients like BP America, Credit Suisse and Boeing.
This information has been made available as a result of the Honest Leadership and Government Act of 2007, which amended the Lobbyist Disclosure Act of 1995. The act made gifts to lawmakers illegal, was supposed to close the revolving door and required more disclosure regarding lobbying activity and spending – including the disclosure of bundled contributions, among other things. The act came about after Jack Abramoff, the infamous lobbyist turned felon, was convicted of fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy. His case demonstrated the wide-ranging corrupt practices that could take place in Washington. The rules require disclosure of bundled contributions went into effect in 2009, and have so far generated a rather small dataset of just over 300 records but have revealed $17.1 million in contributions to just 76 recipients including party committees. The largest bundler, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), has given $2,120,952 in bundled contributions to just two recipients. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is one of them and received the bulk of that money: $2,072,950. The Republican Senator from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, received the remaining $48,000 of that money. According to records filed with the Senate Office of Public Records, EEI has lobbied on a variety of issues related to energy, including regulating greenhouse gases and Clean Air Act regulations.
The remaining supercommittee members that received bundled contributions subject to the relatively new rules are Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, Chris Van Hollen, R-Md, and John Kerry, D-Mass,. The three received $235,500, $40,000 and $20,425 respectively.
The lobbyist bundler data is now available on InfluenceExplorer.com and TransparencyData.com. The data comes directly from the FEC. Contributions are disclosed by recipients (reporting committees) to the FEC when a lobbyist/registrant or lobbyist/registrant PAC makes at least two contributions to a single recipient totaling at least $16,200. Recipients report according to their regularly scheduled reporting periods and according to biannual reporting requirements put into place just for bundled contributions, according to the FEC.