Washington, D.C. — As lawmakers prepare to vote on a bill that gives massive tax cuts to millionaires and corporations, a new report from the Center for American Progress shows how much key members of Congress have accepted in contributions from corporate sources who would benefit from the measure.
Members of Congress on the two tax-writing committees have accepted more than $1.5 billion in contributions from corporate political action committees (PACs) and employees over the course of their careers, according to a new CAP report. A Congress that fairly represented Americans would not be rushing to finalize a tax bill that is projected to provide $937 billion in net tax cuts to corporations and businesses.
CAP is calling for strong, clear anti-corruption solutions for political reform, including a new policy that would ban members of Congress from accepting contributions from donors with interests before their committees. This would reduce the bad incentives for political corruption and increase Americans’ ability to demand responsiveness and exercise accountability over their elected officials. Special interest fundraising creates a major conflict of interest and distorts the incentives for members of Congress that sit on committees overseeing these same contributors.
The report describes how corporate America has gone to great lengths to ingratiate itself to members of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. This year alone, corporate PACs, corporate executives and other corporate employees have given more than $27 million to members of the House panel. An average of two-thirds of the total contributions to members of the committee came from corporate sources, with an average of 70.3 percent for the Republican members and an average of 60.1 percent for the Democratic members.
Corporate sources have donated more than $215 million to members of the Senate Finance Committee in the current six-year cycle, from 2013 to 2018. An overage of 65.7 percent of the total contributions to Republican senators on the finance committee came from corporate sources; it was an average of 51.2 percent for the Democratic senators on the finance committee.
While members of both parties have benefited, the report finds that corporate giving has skewed toward congressional Republicans, whose received contributions totaled $19 million in the House and $137 million in the Senate. This contrasts with $8 million for Democrats in the House and $78 million for Senate Democrats on the panels.
Voters overwhelmingly support breaking the link between committee membership and fundraising: 88 percent of voters surveyed in a 2016 poll favored barring congressional committee members from raising money from corporations or special interests that fall under the jurisdiction of their committees.
Read the report: “How Corporate Donors Get Their Tax Breaks and Five Ways to Fight Back” by Alex Tausanovitch and Liz Kennedy
Fact Sheet: “Committee Contributions Ban”
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