Who Owns Congress? A Campaign Cash Seating Chart
What if members of Congress were seated not by party but according to their major business sponsors? We gave it a try.
What if members of Congress were seated not by party but according to the industries which gave them the most money over their entire careers?
The Senate: Lawyers, Drugs, and Money
SECTOR | # OF MEMBERS
Finance, insurance, and real estate 57
Lawyers and lobbyists 25
Energy and natural resources 2
Miscellaneous business 2
Communications and electronics 1
No money raised 3
Total seats | 100
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)
Terms: 2 (9 in House)
Total raised: $62.2 million, 27% from finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE)
Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.)
Total raised: $17 million, 7% from FIRE
Top donors: In the special election to fill Ted Kennedy's seat, Brown's biggest donors were Fidelity Investments, Bain Capital (Mitt Romney's old firm), and Credit Suisse. But—whoops!—he voted for the financial regulation bill.
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
Total raised: $37.2 million, 14% from FIRE
Top donors: The top Senate Republican's most generous contributors have been US Smokeless Tobacco—now part of Altria, née Philip Morris—and Brown-Forman, the maker of Jack Daniel's. Cheers!
Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
Terms: 4 (2 in House)Total raised: $35.4 million, 17% from lawyers and lobbyists
Top donors: 5 out of the majority leader's top 10 lifetime donors are casinos or gambling interests. The industry has bet more than $1.7 million on him, plus $1.3 mil on fellow Nevada Sen. John Ensign.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)
Terms: 3 (5 in House)
Total raised: $75.3 million, 7% from lawyers and lobbyists
Top donors: Boxer is Hollywood's favorite member of Congress (aside from Sen. John Kerry). Her second-biggest donor is Time Warner; Disney is sixth.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.)
Terms: 2 (4 in House)
Total raised: $31.8 million, 12% from agribusiness
Top donors: The ranking member of the ag committee has never met a federal farm subsidy he didn't like. He just happens to be Congress' second-most bountiful recipient of agribusiness cash.
Terms: 4 (4 in House)
Total raised: $16.2 million, 13% from energy and natural resources
Top donors: Inhofe, who's declared that "man-induced global warming is an article of religious faith," has received more money from Koch Industries than any other company. The oil firm has given nearly $25 million to climate-change denial groups.
The House: Big Labor vs. Big Money
SECTOR | # OF MEMBERS
Finance, insurance, and real estate 159
Lawyers and lobbyists 20
Miscellaneous business 18
Energy and natural resources 10
Communications and electronics 4
Unfilled seats 2
Total seats | 435
Rep. David Obey (D-Wisc.)
Total raised: $10.8 million, 21% from labor
Top donors: The chair of the appropriations committee and a subcommittee with oversight of labor matters, is the House's second-biggest recipient of union cash. Obey's retiring in the face of a challenge from Real World star Sean Duffy.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
Total raised: $11.9 million, 19% from FIRE
Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.)
Total raised: $17.3 million, 24% from FIRE
Top donors: The top donor to the GOP whip, a leading opponent of cap-and-trade legislation, is Dominion Resources, a Virginia power company.
Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.)
Total raised: $6.4 million, 25% from FIRE
Top donors: The freshman rep, a former Goldman Sachs veep, now collects campaign checks from the firm—more than any other House member. Financial regulation vote: Yes.
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas)
Total raised: $50.5 million, 3% from FIRE
Top donors: GIs, meet geeks. The small-government libertarian's biggest givers are members of the military, followed by Google and Microsoft employees.
Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas)
Total raised: $17.2 million, 19% from energy and natural resources
Top donors: Barton, who decried the "shakedown" of BP, has watched the cash flow from Anadarko Petroleum, owner of 25% of BP's Deepwater Horizon well.
Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.)
Total raised: $8.3 million, 17% from defense
Top donors: The Armed Services Committee chair is—surprise!— Congress' top recipient of defense-industry cash.