Lawmakers’ most generous donors of all time, from the predictable to the absurd.
Vampire Squid Caucus
Goldman Sachs is the third-biggest overall corporate giver since 1989. (See previous page.) It’s also the top lifetime donor to 5 members: Rep. Michael McMahon (D-N.Y.), Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).
Trickle-Up Economic Caucus
Multi-level marketing companies—where salespeople get commissions for signing up new salespeople in their “downline”—hand out top incentives to 4 members: Herbalife supplements Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), while Nu Skin revitalizes Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah)—its former spokesman. Amway is the top bankroller of Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-Mich.) and Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.), who got her start in politics while selling for the company.
As oil companies go, BP isn’t a huge donor (No. 9 in its industry in ’08). Its biggest-ever recipient is Barack Obama, with more than $77,000. Most of the current members whom BP has greased most generously (right) sit on an energy, environment, or natural resources committee.
What’s Good for General Motors…
GM is the most powerful campaign-finance engine for 3 Michigan lawmakers. In 2008, the automaker’s PAC handed out nearly $623,000 (Toyota spent $0). Since being taken over by the feds in 2009, it’s given nothing.
The CO2 Is Good for You Caucus
Koch Industries, an oil company and funder of climate-change denial groups, is the top donor to 4 members. 6 members get anything but coal in their stockings from Southern Company, a major sponsor of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, which lobbies against climate legislation. Other ACCCE companies on the top donor list include Foundation Coal (2 members) and American Electric Power (1 member).
Blue Screen of Death Caucus
Microsoft, Congress’ 13th-biggest corporate giver since 1989, is the top donor to 6 members—all from Washington state. Google is 2010’s third-biggest tech-industry giver. Apple doesn’t even have an iPAC.
Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.), who assumed Obama’s old seat, has raised a puny $93,000. His top donors ($3,000) are the owners of Iceberg Enterprises, a Chicago-area office furniture supplier.
Rolling the Dice
6 members hit the jackpot with casinos or gambling outfits. Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.) got a $76,300 payout from the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians, whose casino is next to his district. He’s against internet gambling, which competes with casinos.