October 19, 2006
Who gets special-interest money?
By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service
Rep. Sherrod Brown, who has made an issue of his Senate opponent's
receipt of "special-interest" money, actually ranks higher among
his colleagues in receiving such donations, according to a report
from a liberal advocacy group.
Public Citizen released a ranking Wednesday that shows Brown,
D-Avon, ranked 67th out of 433 members of the House in receipt of
special-interest campaign contributions, putting him in the top 15
percent of lawmakers benefiting from such donations.
Republican he is trying to unseat, Sen. Mike DeWine of Cedarville,
ranked 49th out of 90 senators in the report, putting him roughly
halfway between lawmakers who raise the most and those who raise
the least from special interests.
Although the House has 435 seats and the Senate has 100, data was
not available on all lawmakers.
ranking compared what Public Citizen views as special-interest
contributions, including donations from political action
committees, lobbyists, out-of-state contributors and large
individual donors. The period studied ran from the 2000 election
cycle until Dec. 31, 2005, for lobbyist contributions, and until
June 2006 for other donations.
Public Citizen is an advocate of taxpayer financing of campaigns.
It contends that special-interest contributions corrupt the system
because big donors expect something in return.
MOST POWERFUL GET MOST MONEY
and large, the people with the most power in Congress are the ones
that get the most money," Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook
organization said the recent convictions of several lawmakers and
lobbyists - including Rep. Bob Ney, R-Heath - on bribery or
corruption charges highlight the need to reform the way campaigns
Among area lawmakers, Ney and Rep. Ralph Regula, R-Bethlehem
Township, ranked high in their receipt of special-interest
donations. Ney ranked 60th in the House, while Regula ranked 82nd.
has admitted accepting campaign contributions, a lavish golf trip
to Scotland, tickets to sporting events and other gifts from
lobbyists and said he performed legislative favors for them in
Regula, a powerful member of the House Appropriations Committee,
was near the back of the pack in raising funds from political
action committees. But he did better than most lawmakers in
contributions from lobbyists, big donors and out-of-state donors,
the report showed.
Ohio congressman identified as receiving the most special-interest
money was House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-West Chester, who
Regula and Boehner chose not to comment on the report.
the Senate race, Brown has accused DeWine of favoring the
interests of oil and gas companies, the pharmaceutical industry
and insurance companies in return for hundreds of thousands of
dollars in campaign donations he received from them.
DEWINE VS. BROWN
DeWine spokeswoman Breann Gonzalez said the ranking showing Brown
more dependent on special interests than DeWine "is just another
indication that Sherrod Brown is continuing to distort and
manipulate facts. He's running away from his record."
Brown spokesman Ben LaBolt countered that DeWine "sold out
middle-class families in Washington and voted the interests of his
special-interest campaign contributors like the drug and oil
comparison of actual amounts of cash raised shows that DeWine
actually raised more special-interest money than Brown, as well as
more campaign contributions overall. During the period covered in
the report, DeWine raised $9.9 million in special-interest money,
compared to $4.9 million for Brown.
However, compared with their peers in the House or Senate, Brown
ranked higher in receipt of special interest money than DeWine
Senators who are campaigning statewide typically raise and spend
considerably more than members of the House who are campaigning in
a smaller geographical area.
Compared with other House lawmakers, Brown raised larger amounts
from big individual contributors and out-of-state donors.
Sen. George Voinovich, R-Cleveland, ranked 59th among senators in
Rep. Ted Strickland, D-Lisbon, who is running for governor, ranked
349th, or in the bottom fifth, in the House. Rep. Tim Ryan,
D-Niles, ranked 374th