Written by Dave Levinthal
Your daily dose of news and tidbits from the world of money in politics:
Nearly 160 federally registered lobbyists have collectively raised about $9 million during the past year for federal parties and candidates, the Washington Post's Dan Eggen reports in his paper's Sunday editions.
Eggen's report, based on relatively new information available through the Federal Election Commission, indicates the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee are so far the top recipients of lobbyist-generated campaign cash, with the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and the National Republican Congressional Committee rounding out the top five.
Top lobbyists-cum-campaign cash bundlers include Ben Barnes, Brian L. Wolff and Tony Podesta -- all notable names on Washington's K Street, just a block away from OpenSecrets.org's offices.
Podesta, for one, represented 46 different clients during the first quarter of 2010, our research indicates. Among these clients: Google, Wal-Mart, Bank of America and embattled oil company BP.
In Politics, Is Corporate Image Everything?
That's the question another notable Washington Post scribe, Carol D. Leonnig, proffers in today's edition while exploring how corporations and trade groups involve themselves in political elections "without leaving tracks."
In short? Very carefully, particularly in the aftermath of the Supreme Court's recent Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision.
"They want to exercise it, but not in a way that will antagonize members of Congress or customers or employees," Leonnig quotes McKenna Long & Aldridge campaign finance law expert Stefan Passantino as saying about corporation's political speech rights.
To date, precious few corporations, unions or trade groups have used the rights granted to them via the Citizens United v. FEC decision. Of course, it's relatively early in the 2010 election cycle, at least in terms of political advertising regarding federal races -- most of that will arrive in the weeks immediately preceding November elections.
In the meantime, use this chart as an imperfect, but potentially useful barometer indicating what kind of companies have the most ravenous political appetites.
What it shows: how much money individuals and political action committees associated with certain industries have given to federal political interests during the 2010 election cycle. If certain companies, unions and trade associations ultimately begin writing checks from their treasuries to support or oppose specific political candidates, they may very well come from the industries that top this list.
Dave Levinthal, Communications Director. Dave directs the Center for Responsive Politics' original journalism and blogging, and serves as its spokesman. Prior to joining the Center in June 2009, Dave worked at The Dallas Morning News from 2003 to 2009, reporting on Dallas City Hall and national politics. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., Dave received bachelor's degrees in newspaper journalism and political philosophy from Syracuse University, where he worked as editor in chief of The Daily Orange.