Written by Brandon Conradis
The 23 House Republicans who have said they're willing to pass a "clean" budget bill and end the shutdown have, on average, received more in contributions from the defense sector, labor unions and the House GOP leadership than their colleagues -- backing that could play a role in their decision to break ranks.
The 23 lawmakers -- identified by the Huffington Post using public statements they've made indicating they'd favor an unencumbered budget bill -- have received an average of $14,530 in the 2014 campaign cycle from the defense sector. The average House Republican has received just $12,000 from defense interests.
Republican lawmakers from Virginia are especially vulnerable to the shutdown, as they come from districts heavily dependent on Pentagon contracts. Two Virginia Republicans on the list of 23, Reps. Rob Wittman and Randy Forbes, were the top recipients of defense contributions: Wittman received $66,850 and Forbes received $52,500. Other top recipients from this sector were New Jersey congressmen Jon Runyan, who received $34,800, and Frank LoBiondo, who received $23,800.
Unions -- traditionally supporters of Democratic candidates -- have also contributed large sums to many of the Republicans on this list. Their average contribution of $23,022 is well above $6,280, the average amount they donated to House Republicans in general in the first six months of 2013.
The top labor recipient on the list was Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), who was given a whopping $106,500 by unions, many of which are in the public sector.
Finally, many of the nearly two dozen lawmakers have received generous contributions from House leadership -- in contrast to some of the most hardcore dissidents who want to keep the government closed unless the Democrats make major policy concessions.
Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) benefited most, among those on the list, from leadership PAC money, receiving a total of $92,195. Among those PACs that have contributed to him are House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)'s "Freedom Project" PAC, which gave him $5,000, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.)'s "Every Republican is Crucial" PAC, which gave him $10,000.
The other top recipient of leadership money on this list was Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), who received a $10,000 contribution from Cantor's PAC as well.
Source: The Center for Responsive Politics is the nation's premier research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy. Nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit, the organization aims to create a more educated voter, an involved citizenry and a more transparent and responsive government.