The Club for Growth, Microsoft, the University of California, Goldman Sachs, and EMILY’s List are the five biggest organizational donors to the dozen members of the newly named super committee, according to an analysis released on Monday by MapLight.org, a government transparency organization.
MapLight found that the organizations gave between almost $600,000 and $1 million each over the last decade to the 12 members of the committee tasked with cutting $1.5 trillion in federal spending by year’s end.
Democratic members of the committee received more money than Republicans, with almost $244 million from all sources going to the Democrats and almost $65 million to the GOP. The largest recipient by far was Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who got more than $183 million.
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MapLight also broke down political giving by industry and found that the legal profession gave the most to committee members, with nearly $32 million in donations, followed by the finance industry with about $11 million. Democratic causes rounded out the top three by donating almost $10 million to committee members.
"I don't think anyone would question there's an economy of influence on Capitol Hill," said Daniel Newman, MapLight's cofounder and executive director. "A strong dependency for money, in the form of campaign contributions, exists on both sides of the aisle. Until we have a political system where fundraising doesn't distort lawmaking, the public should know the interest groups that have the ear of this super committee."
Political giving to super committee members is only likely to increase, as lobbyists and special interests work to shield their clients from the massive spending cuts that will take effect by December. In fact, some K-Streeters are already trading off the Divine Dozen’s new bona fides.
Last week, Investment Company Institute political-affairs officer Jim Hart sent out an e-mail touting the trade group’s August 31 fundraiser for Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., as his “first event since being named to the commission and may be one of the first for any of the 12 members of the group.”
“This event could give all attendees a glimpse into what will most assuredly be the primary topic of discussion between now and the end of the year,” Hart wrote in an e-mail obtained by National Journal.
According to MapLight’s analysis, Becerra’s top contributor is Oaktree Capital Management, which gave $21,400. The special-interest group that has given him the most campaign cash is health professionals, who have contributed more than $200,000.
To see more of MapLight’s analysis, click here.