By BEN FREEMAN and LYDIA DENNETT
$2,270. To some people, this number might represent a monthly paycheck. But to six House Members this is just the increase in daily fundraising dollars they received after being appointed to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (Super Committee).
POGO conducted an analysis of third quarter (July 1, 2011 to September 30, 2011) campaign filings reported to the Federal Election Commission and found that the six Super Committee Members from the House of Representatives received considerably more campaign contributions after being appointed to the Committee.
Prior to being appointed, these six Members combined received just over $660,000 (an average of $2,684 per Member per day) in itemized campaign contributions from Political Action Committees and individuals during the third quarter. From August 10, when the Members of the Super Committee were announced, through September 30, when the third quarter reporting period ended, these same six Members combined received more than $1.5 million in contributions (an average of $4,954 per Member per day).
Who Cashed in the Most?
While all six House Members of the Super Committee saw their fundraising increase after appointment to the committee, there were significant disparities in the level to which they cashed in on their pivotal roles.
Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) led the surge in fundraising. With $216,575 in contributions prior to appointment and $485,232 after, Camp increased his average daily fundraising intake by more than $4,200. His campaign received more than $700,000 in total contributions in the third quarter, the top total amongst House Super Committee Members.
Super Committee Co-Chair Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) raised the second highest amount of campaign contributions in the third quarter: $472,174. Yet, he appears to have cashed in the least on his Super Committee status. From pre to post-nomination, Hensarling increased his average daily fundraising total by $1,530, the lowest increase of all the House Super Committee Members.
On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), was top among all Democratic House Representatives on the Super Committee in terms of both the amount received and increase in fundraising after nomination. He raised more than $300,000 during the third quarter. His average daily fundraising amount more than doubled from pre to post-nomination, increasing by more than $2,000 per day. Not to be outdone, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) enjoyed the largest percentage increase in fundraising dollars from pre to post-nomination, with a per day fundraising average that quadrupled after he was nominated to the Super Committee.
Contributions in Context
As Politico has reported, the total contributions made to these Super Committee Members in the third quarter is lower than what they received in the second quarter of 2011. However, the third quarter totals are significantly higher than the first quarter 2011 totals. Also, as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has noted, for these six House Members together, the total contributed in the third quarter of 2011 is higher than their total haul from the third quarter of 2009 (the last non-election year), although two of the three House Democrats saw declines. Even if the baseline for comparison is the third quarter of 2010, the year in which all of these Members were last elected, their third quarter 2011 total is less than 5% below this high baseline.
Unfortunately, not all of the Senators appointed to the Super Committee have submitted their third quarter filings, so a full evaluation of all fundraising done by the Super Committee is not yet possible.
While the senators on the Super Committee may not feel the need to cash in on their status given that none will be seeking reelection until 2014 at the earliest, it’s clear that the House Members, with their 2012 reelection campaigns already underway, have cashed-in on their immense importance.
But will these contributions alter outcomes? Does money talk? Perhaps, but we will have to wait until the Super Committee votes on its plan to reduce the budget deficit by at least $1.2 trillion to find out.
Ben Freeman is POGO's National Security Fellow. Lydia Dennett is a POGO intern.
Image via Flickr user donkey hotey.
FEC data on Super Committee House Members...
Analysis of third quarter 2011 itemized contributions
|Pre-Super||Post-Super||Total||Pre Per Day||Post Per Day||Difference||Increase|
Total (itemized and non-itemized) contributions by quarter
|Q3 2009||Q3 2010||Q1 2011||Q2 2011||Q3 2011|
|Becerra, Xavier (D)||$182,888||$195,827||$129,311||$206,478||$203,350|
|Camp, Dave (R)||$253,831||$775,955||$497,922||$935,745||$704,847|
|Clyburn, James E (D)||$424,214||$427,923||$176,463||$522,128||$306,362|
|Hensarling, Jeb (R)||$355,056||$289,387||$428,143||$356,051||$471,260|
|Upton, Fred (R)||$161,525||$473,157||$355,337||$422,415||$401,024|
|Van Hollen, Chris (D)||$170,927||$169,954||$74,058||$72,606||$153,279|