Throughout May of 2009, I did a six-part installment which listed the occupational background of every single Congressperson and Senator, to show how few of them had come from poor or modest backgrounds, and why that explained their obvious disconnect with average working people. This being an election year, I thought I would begin an ongoing intermittent series on Representatives and Senators up for re-election this fall who do not at all understand and are completely out of touch with average American citizens, who are completely bought out by big corporations and special interests, who are hopelessly partisan and self-serving, and who are not worthy of being re-elected or continuing on the public payroll. Each segment in this series will be titled "Who (NAME) REALLY Represents!" In each post I will document where the bulk of each person's support and campaign contributions are coming from, so you will be able to see exactly who they are actually beholden to and serving, rather than the people of their district or state. All data is available on the website www.opensecrets.org and is supplied by the Center for Responsible Politics, or from the Center for Public Integrity, from filings made by each candidate with the Federal Elections Commission. The first subject in this series will be Ohio 8th District Representative and Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner.
Top Contributors to Boehner's Campaign Committee:
Rank /Contributor /Total /from Individuals /from PACs
1 American Financial Group $38,900 /$38,900 /$0
2 American Electric Power $21,950 /$11,950 /$10,000
3 AK Steel $19,900 $/9,900 /$10,000
4 Blue Cross/Blue Shield $15,000 /$0 /$15,000
5 FMR Corp $12,300 /$2,300 /$10,000
6 Walt Disney Co $12,000 /$7,000 /$5,000
7 Cooper Farms $11,500 /$11,500 /$0
8 New York Life Insurance $11,000 /$1,000 /$10,000
9 Amgen Inc $10,500 /$500 /$10,000
10 ACA International $10,000 /$0 American Assn of Orthopaedic /$10,000
10 Altria Group $10,000 /$0 /$10,
10 American Maritime Officers $10,000000
10 American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 Anheuser-Busch InBev $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 Associated Builders & Contractors $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 Boeing Co $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 California Dairies Inc $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 CME Group $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 College of American Pathologists $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 CSX Corp $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 Darden Restaurants $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 Home Depot $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 International Assn of Fire Fighters $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 Jacobs Engineering Group $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 Lockheed Martin $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 McKesson Corp $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 Metlife Inc $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 National Thoroughbred Racing Assn $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 Nationwide $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 Norfolk Southern $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 Southern Co $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 Swisher International $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 United Parcel Service $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 US Bancorp $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 Women's Alliance for Israel $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
Here is a listing of the Political Action Committees (by industry) who have donated heavily to Mr. Boehner:
Total PAC Money for 2010: $1,411,490
Number of Contributions: 589
Energy & Natural Resources $139,500
Finance, Insurance & Real Estate $356,390
Lawyers & Lobbyists $35,600
Misc Business $191,750
Based on Federal Election Commission data available electronically on Sunday, June 13, 2010.
2009 - 2010 Cycle PAC Contribution Breakdown
Business $1,347,590 (96%)
Labor $32,000 (2%)
Ideological/Single Issue $27,900 (2%)
Based on Federal Election Commission data available electronically on Sunday, June 13, 2010.
Top 10 Political Action Committee Donors (through June 9, 2010, according to the Center for Public Integrity):
1. AT&T Inc.$240,105 AT&T Inc. tops the list of all-time givers among PACs, with at least $240,105 from its corporate PACs and the PACs for companies, such as Ameritech, BellSouth, and Cingular, that are now part of the telecommunications giant. Though the company is active on a range of issues, a major recent concern was its 2008 fight over the legality of the George W. Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. Boehner was a strong supporter of amnesty for companies — including AT&T — that were being sued for aiding the administration’s anti-terrorism surveillance, blasting Congressional opponents for “leaving companies who assisted our government after 9/11 exposed to frivolous and costly lawsuits simply to line the pockets of the Democratic leadership’s trial lawyer allies.” With his support, legislation was enacted in 2008 to grant immunity to AT&T and other companies. AT&T did not return calls seeking comment.
2. CME Group$225,850 In second place, with $225,850 or more in donations, is the CME Group, which includes the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Chicago Board of Trade. Boehner has opposed Democratic efforts to institute a per-transaction fee on financial transactions, including futures. The Center for Public Integrity’s 2005 Power Trips investigation revealed that Boehner was the recipient of six trips from CME Group subsidiaries. Trips such as these were later made illegal. A CME spokeswoman told the Center it does “not comment on our lobbying efforts.”
3. Bank of America Corp. $207,000 Bank of America Corp. (BoA) ranks third among donors to Boehner with no less than $207,000, which includes the bank’s political action committee, along with PACs for now-merged former institutions like Bank of Boston, Countrywide, Fleet, Merrill Lynch, MBNA, NationsBank, and Shawmut. Since 2008, BoA has received at least $45 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds, which have since been repaid. Boehner joined just 90 other House Republicans to help enact the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which created TARP, and opposed the later TARP Reform and Accountability Act, a bill to tighten oversight for TARP recipients which passed the House, but stalled in the Senate. BoA did not return calls seeking a comment.
4. Altria Group Inc.$181,959 Click here to read moreBoehner’s fourth largest PAC, with at least $181,959, is the Altria Group Inc., parent of the Philip Morris family of tobacco companies. Despite his general support for Altria’s agenda, Boehner split with the company on a recent key vote and instead joined most other tobacco companies in opposing giving the Food and Drug Administration oversight of tobacco. The bill, signed into law in January, was opposed by critics who feared its restrictions would give Altria a competitive advantage. Bruce Gates, himself Boehner’s top individual donor and Altria’s senior vice president of government affairs, told the Center that he was unsurprised the company’s PAC made the top ten, as the firm maintains one of the nation’s largest corporate PACs. “It’s a big part of our political interest as a company to have a political system that recognizes individual responsibility, personal freedoms, and commitment to a strong business climate,” he explained, noting that Boehner’s record has been generally consistent with those tenets.
5. United Parcel Service Inc.$165,750 In fifth place, with at least $165,750 in donations, is United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS), including contributions from the PAC for the now-merged Overnite Corp. Boehner has a long history of opposing new workplace requirements that would cost employers money, especially in regard to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In 1995, OSHA said that it had received more complaints about UPS than any other company since 1972, and UPS has since spent heavily lobbying on labor issues. In his one-time role as chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, Boehner was particularly active in working against OSHA’s proposed ergonomics standard, which deals directly with stress disorders caused by repetitive motions and lifting — an issue with obvious impact on the shipping giant. After a 10-year battle, the standard went into place in January 2001; in March of that year, the House and Senate voted to overturn the rule, and the repeal became one of the first items signed by President George W. Bush. Before voting for the repeal, Boehner issued a statement calling OSHA’s approach “neither feasible nor desirable.” UPS also hired longtime Boehner aide Greg Maurer as a lobbyist in 2009. Malcolm Berkley, a UPS spokesman, told the Center the firm’s PAC supports candidates “who share our beliefs in fair competition, free enterprise, and global trade.” He said there was no connection between the PAC’s activities and Maurer’s hiring.
6. Reynolds American Inc.$158,500 Sixth place on the list belongs to tobacco giant Reynolds American Inc., with a minimum of $158,500 donated to Boehner. Many of those checks that Boehner famously passed out on the House floor were from Brown & Williamson Tobacco, which later merged into Reynolds American. Boehner was one of the 102 representatives to vote against 2008’s Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which would have given the FDA oversight over tobacco; the legislation was opposed by almost all the major tobacco companies at the time, including Reynolds. Boehner described the bill as a “boneheaded idea" but was unable to stop it. Although the 2008 version died in the Senate, the bill passed in 2009 and was signed into law by President Obama last June. Once again, Boehner voted against it. A 2006 Center investigation revealed that Boehner had flown on the Reynolds corporate jet on 15 occasions between June 2001 and September 2005, reimbursing the company more than $11,000 for the privilege. At the time, a spokesman for Boehner’s PAC defended the controversial flights — since banned by the House — noting “Logistically, to get him from point A to point B and not be dictated by the commercial airlines in terms of departure time is a much more efficient way to travel.” A company spokesman defended the service as “critical for us to be able to defend our industry and product.” Reynolds did not return calls for comment for this story.
7. JPMorgan Chase & Co.$154,925 Click here to read moreWith at least $154,925 in donations, seventh place goes to JPMorgan Chase & Co., including the corporate PACs connected with the many former companies that now make up the global financial services giant such as Bank One, Chemical Bank, Providian, and Washington Mutual. As minority leader, Boehner was key to the 2008 enactment of the $700 billion TARP program, which was intended to bail out the sector amidst the economic meltdown. JPMorgan received at least $25 billion in TARP funds, though it has since paid back the money. Through a spokeswoman, JPMorgan declined to comment.
8. American Maritime Officers$150,500 The eighth-most generous PAC was American Maritime Officers, the largest union of merchant marine officers, with at least $150,500 in contributions. Among the group’s principal legislative interests are full funding for the Maritime Security Program (which supports a core fleet of U.S. ships that could be used in times of war and national emergencies), continued support for shipbuilding loan and mortgage guarantees, and funding of sealift ships, which are used for ocean transportation of government equipment and supplies. The lone labor union to crack Boehner’s top ten, and the rare labor union that backs Republicans and Democrats roughly equally, AMO’s support of Boehner paid off at least once, when the generally pro-business Boehner voted in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004, which included the Maritime Security Act of 2003 and reauthorization for the Maritime Security Program through 2015. Originally part of the AFL-CIO, the AMO withdrew from the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association in 1994 and lost its AFL-CIO charter, although the group works with other unions through the Maritime Trades Department of the AFL-CIO. The AMO has had its share of legal problems in recent years; the union’s former president and former secretary-treasurer were both convicted in 2007 for a variety of offenses, including racketeering conspiracy and mail fraud in a scandal involving illegal campaign contributions to political candidates. AMO did not return calls for comment.
9. FedEx Corp.$143,350 Click here to read moreNinth place belongs to shipping giant FedEx Corp., with a minimum of $143,350 in donations to Boehner’s committees. In 1996, FedEx flooded Congress with money and lobbyists in an attempt to attach a provision to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) reauthorization bill that would exempt FedEx from falling under the National Labor Relations Act; the provision would have made it harder for FedEx employees to unionize. After a three-day debate, the bill came out in the shipper’s favor. Boehner, then the House GOP Conference Chairman, backed the revised bill and praised the conference report in a floor speech for “furthering many projects that need to be done to improve the Nation's airports.” He voted against the 2009 House version of the FAA reauthorization, which would remove the controversial provision. The bill is currently stalled in the Senate and FedEx continues to fight to preserve the rule. FedEx did not return calls for comment.
10. Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association$142,390 Click here to read moreIn tenth place with at least $142,390 in contributions: the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), a financial trade organization that represents banks, securities firms, and asset management companies nationwide. The group drafted a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Boehner opposing the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009, the House’s main vehicle to reform financial regulation, arguing that “certain provisions will have a negative impact on the operation of the financial markets.” SIFMA said the bill would undermine U.S. credit markets, and “significantly reduce the capital available for lending.” Boehner voted against it, and was largely critical of the financial reform efforts, deriding them as the work of “punk staffers” and urging members of the American Bankers Association to “stand up for yourselves” against reform efforts. SIFMA sent another letter to House leadership in opposition of the Commodity Markets Transparency and Accountability Act of 2008; Boehner voted against that legislation as well. Both bills passed the House but stalled in the Senate. SIFMA did not return calls for comment.
SUMMARY: John Boehner's mistaken priorities, according to Washington insiders, seem to revolve around keeping himself perpetually tan, drinking, golfing, and partying. News commentator Joe Scarborough, himself a conservative Republican and a former House member, has even observed,
"I hear it on the Hill, I'm sure you hear it on the Hill all the time, it's not reported," Scarborough said to a guest from Politico on a recent Morning Joe show on MSNBC. "But so many Republicans tell me that this is a guy that is not the hardest worker in the world."
"After five o'clock, six o'clock at night, he's disengaged -- at best," Scarborough continued. "You can see him around town. He does not have, let's say, the work hours of Newt Gingrich. ... Every Republican I talk to says that John Boehner, by five or six at night, you can see him at bars."
Boehner is the man who recently compared President Obama's financial reform efforts to "using a nuclear weapon to kill an ant." Sounds like distorted alcoholic thinking to me. There have also been reports of a number of crying episodes on the actual House floor, usually at or near the end of the day.
AND THIS IS THE MAN WHO WOULD BECOME SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE IF REPUBLICANS WERE TO REGAIN NUMERICAL CONTROL? God forbid!
To that list of mistaken Boehner priorities I would also add : seeing to it that wealthy corporations become even wealthier, no matter what the cost in jobs, safety, or worker wages. As you can see, Mr. Boehner has been well endowed with monies from defense contractors, the banking, and the insurance industries. The same Wall Street moguls who nearly drove us into another depression absolutely love the guy. He is a long time champion of deregulation and free-market economics, policies which have gotten us into our current economic mess. There is a huge amount of out of state and out of his district money which has found its way into his campaign coffers. This man is a walking billboard for the necessity of immediate campaign finance reform!
WHO BOEHNER REALLY REPRESENTS: NOT YOU, American worker or Ohio 8th District resident! This man is a shill for wealthy corporations and Wall Street bankers. He should be immediately and permanently retired. PLEASE do that for us, Ohio 8th District voters!
UP NEXT: Who MICHELE BACHMANN REALLY Represents!