Follow the Money

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Follow the Money

The Center for Responsive Politics does an excellent job of making available raw data on the money flow in Washington, as well as providing analysis of the data. As usual, their piece on the current--awful--bankruptcy bill is illuminating. A couple of interesting tidbits (there's plenty more info in the linked article):The 18 Democrats who voted to pass the bill raised an average of $51,200 from the industry during the period studied, as compared to the $20,200, on average, collected by the 25 Democrats who voted to reject it....Contributions from MBNA, the nation’s top credit card issuer and the biggest political donor in the finance and credit industry, skew strongly toward senators who supported the bill. The company’s employees and political action committee contributed $1.1 million between 1999 and 2004 to the senators who voted "yes" on the bill, an average of $14,700 per lawmaker. Senators who voted to defeat the bill raised a total of $85,000, or $3,400 per lawmaker, from MBNA’s employees and PAC during that time.The info on the Dems is especially interesting, since that's the party that split over the bill. None of the GOP senators voted against the bill.

There is always the problem of causation with data like these. One could surmise that the senators who voted "aye" did so because they got money from the credit card companies. But it's also conceivable that the credit card companies gave money to politicians who already supported policies the companies liked, such as bankruptcy "reform." I didn't contribute to Howard Dean so that he would let me tell him what to do in office, but because I wanted him to win because I liked the things he was already planning to do.

Far be it from me to suggest that anyone draw the more cynical inference from the correlation between credit card industry dollars and support for this odious bill.

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