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Corruption Chronicles

Lobbyists Raise Big Bucks For Politicians

In a classic example of how money unscrupulously sways federal lawmakers, well-connected lobbyists raise hefty sums for politicians and their parties as they push for legislation to benefit their rich corporate clients.

Lobbyists that moonlight as big time fundraisers make up one of the most influential subcultures in Washington D.C., according to a news report that exposed the largely covert operations by obtaining Federal Election Commission records. In most cases the cash is raised as the lobbyists engage in efforts to shape legislation to benefit their wealthy clients—including energy firms, insurers and other big companies—with huge financial stakes in the outcome of federal measures.

Around 160 lobbyists have raised at least $9 million for political parties and federal candidates in the last year alone, mostly for Democrats. About three-quarters of the contributions went to Democratic committees or candidates, with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee topping the list at $2.4 million and $1.1 million respectively.

Republicans also benefited from the questionable arrangements with the National Republican Senatorial Committee accepting $870,000 in contributions bundled by lobbyists and the National Republican Congressional Committee taking about $520,000.

Among the top lobbyists who double as fundraisers is one of Nancy Pelosi’s closest aides (Brian Wolff), who also raised millions as head of the DCCC. When he left the DCCC, Wolff became a top lobbyist at a firm that represents major power companies in the climate debate and he has bundled more than $600,000 for the DCCC in the last year and plans to raise $2 million more by November.

The top individual beneficiary of lobbyist fundraising in the past year was New York Senator Charles Schumer, who got more than $570,000 in cash bundled by registered lobbyists. During last year’s health-care legislation debate, two top lobbyists at the Greater New York Hospital Association bundled more than $300,000 in donations for Schumer’s campaign.

 


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