Who really influences congress and what does it cost?

Posted By on November 4, 2011

I had a brief, but friendly, discussion with a client who’s political views are 180 degrees apart from mine. We chatted about the role of government and eventually settled on a discussion around the problem of funding campaigns and lobbyist gaining influence in our government – kirstengillibrandsomething we both agreed was a problem. He was convinced that lobbyists were primarily corporations and wealthy Republicans and that their support was centered around big business and right wing agendas. I disagreed and without any information to back my claim up, I unloaded my canned “the media is bias to the left” straw man argument. I did suspect that both parties were a bit too cozy with lobbyist, but didn’t have the facts well researched in order to argue my point of view. 

So the evening after our discussion, I check on some information from OpenSecrets.org and shared a 2012 chart of contributions. I was actually surprised myself with the numbers and in particular seeing junior congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) name as the “top recipient” so many times? I was also surprised to see that 7 of the top 10 individual recipients were Democrats. (see below).

EDIT: After sending the link to the chart below, we chatted and contemplated how much time and money is being spent on elections verses what is being accomplished for the good of the country. Our conclusion … as is evident by the continuing unemployment, deficit and debt … is that too much is being done to “buy” someone a seat in congress and to line the pockets of those “buying” friends in high places. (in the end we agree at least on that point)



Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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