November 2010, Week 1


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Thu, 4 Nov 2010 22:41:16 -0400
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The Chairmen: New House Leaders Have Familiar Ties to
Business, Revolving Door

By Josh Israel

The Huffington Post - Crossposted from The Center For Public

First Posted: 11-4-10 07:06 AM - Updated: 11-4-10 07:16 AM


The Republican takeover of Congress not only apparently
gives the Speaker's gavel to John Boehner, it also elevates
up to 25 senior GOP lawmakers to the roles of committee
chairs. And while it may be a few weeks before it becomes
clear which members will lead which panels, a Center for
Public Integrity examination finds there are some common
ties that bind the likely leaders of the 11 committees with
the most domestic spending and policy clout.

First, the top contenders are all men. Nearly all are white.
Most have deep ties to the business community or the
industries they will soon oversee. Some have former staffers
who now work in the lobbying world and could seek influence
before their committees. And many have gotten the lion's
share of their campaign monies the past two election cycles
from special interest political action committees.

The Center's examination focused on those likely to chair
the House panels on appropriations, armed services, budget,
education and labor, energy and commerce, financial
services, homeland security, natural resources, oversight
and government reform, transportation and infrastructure,
and ways and means. The Center also included the powerful
appropriations defense subcommittee -- the panel examined in
its 2009 The Murtha Method investigation.

In many ways, the likely Republican chairs don't look much
different than the Democratic counterparts they are
replacing. The 11 current Democratic chairmen of the
committees are also all men, though two are black.

But that's where the similarities end. The new GOP leaders
tend to be more conservative than the average House
Republican. They are generally strongly pro-business, and
have significant ties to industry.

Eight of the 14 candidates for the committee chairs got the
majority of their campaign funds since 2007 from special
interest PACs. For instance, Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, a
possible candidate for the Energy and Commerce committee,
got 70 percent of the $4.8 million he raised since 2007 from

Likewise, Rep. David Camp of Michigan, the top contender for
the Ways and Means Committee that controls taxes and
spending, got a whopping 79 percent of the $6.5 million he
collected in the last two elections from political action

Many lawmakers also have ties to Washington's revolving door
-- through which Congressional staff leave for lucrative
lobbying jobs in the private sector, where they can cash in
on their access and ties.

For instance, Reps. C.W. "Bill" Young and Fred Upton are
among the lawmakers who have former staffers that currently
lobby for interests that fall under the jurisdiction of the
committee they would chair.

Our profiles include (where appropriate):

    * Top PAC Contributors: Using data from subscription-
    only CQ MoneyLine, we examined contributions from
    political action committees in the 2007-2008 and
    2009-2010 (reported so far) election cycles to the
    would-be chairmen's campaign committee and leadership
    PAC, if any

    * Revolving Door: Former staffers who are now registered

    * Earmarks: Requests for earmarks obtained by member in
    the 2008, 2009, and 2010 budgets, according to the
    databases provided by Taxpayers for Common Sense

    * Stimulus Letters: Requests obtained by the Center for
    Public Integrity for stimulus funds to go to favored
    Transportation, Commerce, and Energy Department projects

    * Ethical Issues: Any significant ethical questions the
    member has previously faced

    * Campaign Promises: Pledges or other hints of what the
    member's priorities would be as chairman of the relevant

Appropriations Committee (Click on URL to access full

   Jerry Lewis

   Hal Rogers

Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense

   C.W. Bill Young

Armed Services Committee

   Howard "Buck" McKeon

Budget Committee

   Paul Ryan

Education and Labor Committee

   John Kline

Energy and Commerce Committee

   Joe Barton

   Fred Upton

Financial Services Committee

   Spencer Bachus

Homeland Security Committee

   Peter King

Natural Resources Committee

   Doc Hastings

Oversight and Government Reform Committee

   Darrell Issa

Transportation Committee

   John Mica

Ways and Means Committee

   Dave Camp

[Josh Israel is Project Coordinator at The Center for Public
Integrity. Previously, he spent four years working as
director of research on Pulitzer Prize-winning
journalist/historian Nick Kotz's acclaimed book Judgment
Days: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King Jr., and the
Laws that Changed America, and six months as an aide to a
Virginia state legislator.]


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