Follow Us

Tag Archive: Political Contributions

Do members of Congress headline fundraisers in exchange for floor votes?

by

We at the Sunlight Foundation spend a lot of time looking over the political fundraising invitations that keep pouring into our Political Party Time website. So we were very excited to read a paper by Yale Political Science Professor Eleanor Neff Powell, who used our Party Time data to investigate an often underappreciated aspect of the political fundraising circle: headlining for others. By carefully analyzing the corpus of fundraising invitations that we’ve compiled over the years, Powell was able to uncover evidence of an economy of favors in the Washington fundraising circuit. Members of Congress who headline events for other members get something in return – votes for their legislation. Or, as Powell puts it:

Controlling for the ideological similarity of their past voting records, a Democratic Congressman is 5.5% more likely to vote for a bill for each fundraising event the bill’s sponsor has headlined for them in the past (Republican Congressmen are 2.5% more likely). These results show a strong relationship between fundraising assistance and subsequent legislative voting behavior and suggest potentially serious consequences for representation

Continue reading
Share This:

Another Kind of Surge

by

The Center for Responsive Politics has an fascinating analysis today that should be mighty disturbing to Republican candidates closely allied with President Bush's Iraq war strategy.

Since the start of the Iraq war in 2003, members of the U.S. military have dramatically increased their political contributions to Democrats, marching sharply away from the party they've long supported. In the 2002 election cycle, the last full cycle before the war began, Democrats received a mere 23 percent of military members' contributions.* So far this year, 40 percent of military money has gone to Democrats for Congress and president, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Anti-war presidential candidates Barack Obama and Ron Paul are the top recipients of military money.

Continue reading
Share This:

Lies Make Baby Jesus Cry:

by

Yesterday news broke that President Bush's Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson became a lightening rod after it was reported that in a speech he stated that he believes that he should only give contracts to supporters of President Bush. Jackson made his point by telling an anecdotal story about a contractor trying to obtain a contract from HUD. The contractor, for some inexplicable reason, told Jackson that he did not like President Bush, at which point Jackson decided that he wouldn't give this man the contract because, as Jackson himself says, "Why should I reward someone who doesn’t like the president?" Now, Jackson is retracting his statement by saying that he made up the story. The HUD spokeswoman stated, "The secretary's story was anecdotal. He is not part of the contracting process. He was trying to explain to this group how politics works in D.C." Josh Marshall says, "This doesn't sound like a particularly exculpatory explanation. That story was made up. Jackson was just how explaining how he does business?" Think Progress offers two points about why this explanation is a bit unbelievable:

1) That excuse isn’t just difficult to swallow — it also contradicts the spokesperson’s first response in which she indicated Jackson was referring to a real contract: “On May 3, Tucker told the Business Journal that the contract Jackson was referring to in Dallas was ‘an advertising contract with a minority publication,’ though she could not provide the contract’s value.” It looks like Jackson is changing his story as criticism builds. 2) Bidding for a government contract isn’t ‘asking for money.’ It’s not Alphonso Jackson’s money to give away to his buddies. It is the taxpayers’ money. It should go to whoever can do the best job, regardless of their political views.
So, either Jackson lied by making up his "anecdotal story" or he is lying to cover up the story. Either way the real issue is not with the factual accuracy of Jackson's story but whether he was factually representing his own belief when he stated: "Why should I reward someone who doesn’t like the president?" It seems that Jackson wanted to make this very point and then crafted a story to fit his predetermined belief/actions. Jackson needs to come clean on whether he is breaking the law by only distributing contracts to supporters of President Bush. Doesn't he know that lies make baby Jesus cry? (georgia10 at Daily Kos has more dirt on Jackson)

Continue reading
Share This:

Senator Calls For HUD Secretary to Resign:

by

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) called on HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson to resign in the wake of his comments regarding the politicization of HUD contracting. Lautenberg: "If Secretary Jackson really said this, then President Bush should ask for his resignation. Government contracts must be based on merit, not on political favoritism." UPDATE: Waxman and Frank call for hearings into HUD contracting, according to Reuters.

Continue reading
Share This:

HUD Secretary Only Gives Contracts to Bush Supporters:

by

President Bush's Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson seems to not understand the federal contracting process. You see he believes that only supporters of President Bush should get contracts. From the Dallas Business Journal courtesy of David Sirota:

After discussing the huge strides the agency has made in doing business with minority-owned companies, Jackson closed with a cautionary tale, relaying a conversation he had with a prospective advertising contractor. ‘He had made every effort to get a contract with HUD for 10 years,’ Jackson said of the prospective contractor. ‘He made a heck of a proposal and was on the (General Services Administration) list, so we selected him. He came to see me and thank me for selecting him. Then he said something … he said, ‘I have a problem with your president.’ ‘I said, ‘What do you mean?’ He said, ‘I don’t like President Bush.’ I thought to myself, ‘Brother, you have a disconnect — the president is elected, I was selected. You wouldn’t be getting the contract unless I was sitting here. If you have a problem with the president, don’t tell the secretary. He didn’t get the contract,’ Jackson continued. ‘Why should I reward someone who doesn’t like the president?’”
Aside from this being a violation of federal rules as Think Progress points out:
Government business shall be conducted in a manner above reproach and, except as authorized by statute or regulation, with complete impartiality and with preferential treatment for none. Transactions relating to the expenditure of public funds require the highest degree of public trust and an impeccable standard of conduct.
Jackson's most egregious statement comes when he explains his understanding of the contracting process:
“Why should I reward someone who doesn’t like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president? Logic says they don’t get the contract. That’s the way I believe.”
Josh Marshall explains Jackson's "logic":
political supporters get contracts so they can pump a percentage of the profits back into the political party. Standard machine politics, at best. Organized bribery, at worst. And whatever you want to call it, the guiding principle of all contracting and government spending in the second Bush administration.
Unbelievable.

Continue reading
Share This:

Shareholders Push Companies for Political Contribution Disclosure:

by

Shareholder activists are expected plan to force resolutions on some New England companies to disclose all information related to campaign contributions, according to the Boston Globe. The resolutions will target CVS Corp., Staples Inc., and Marsh & McLennan Cos. to publicly disclose their political contributions. A similar campaign run last year by shareholders caused the New Jersey based Shering-Plough Corp. to disclose all political contributions on their website.

Continue reading
Share This:

CFC (Combined Federal Campaign) Today 59063

Charity Navigator