DATA RELEASE: Telco PACs Gave $8K to Dems Who Changed Their Vote on FISA Bill

House Dems Who Changed Their Vote To Support FISA Bill, Giving Immunity To Telcos, Received, On Average, $8,359 In PAC Contributions From Verizon, AT&T, And Sprint

BERKELEY, CA, June 24, 2008 - Last week, on June 20, the House of Representatives approved a compromise bill to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA). The bill sets new electronic surveillance rules that effectively shield telecommunications companies from lawsuits resulting from the government’s warrantless eavesdropping on phone calls and viewing emails of private citizens in the U.S. Approximately 40 lawsuits have been filed with potential damages totaling in the billions of dollars.

On March 14 of this year the House passed an amendment that rejected retroactive immunity for phone carriers who helped the National Security Agency carry out the illegal wiretapping program without proper warrants. Ninety-four House Democrats voted in favor of this measure--rejecting immunity--on March 14, then ‘changed’ to vote in favor of the June 20 House bill--approving immunity.

“Why did these ninety-four House members have a change of heart?” asked Daniel Newman, executive director of MAPLight.org, “Their constituents deserve answers.”

MAPLight.org's research department compiled PAC campaign contributions from Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint and correlated them with the voting records of all House members who voted on last week’s FISA bill. (The analysis used data from CRP; contributions were from January 2005 through March 2008). Here are the findings:

Comparing Democrats' Votes (March 14th and June 20th votes):

Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint gave PAC contributions averaging:

$8,359 to each Democrat who changed their position to support immunity for Telcos (94 Dems)
$4,987 to each Democrat who remained opposed to immunity for Telcos (116 Dems)

88 percent of the Dems who changed to supporting immunity (83 Dems of the 94) received PAC contributions from Verizon, AT&T, or Sprint during the last three years (Jan. 2005-Mar. 2008). See below for list of these 94 Dems.

All House Members (June 20th vote):

 Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint gave PAC contributions averaging:

$9,659 to each member of the House voting "YES" (105-Dem, 188-Rep)
$4,810 to each member of the House voting "NO" (128-Dem, 1-Rep)

MAPLight.org's research department findings are based on the combination of contribution data from the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) with voting data from GovTrack.us<.

"Campaign contributions bias our legislative system,” said Daniel Newman, Executive Director of MAPLight.org. “Simply put, candidates who take positions contrary to industry interests are unlikely to receive industry funds and thus have fewer resources for their election campaigns than those whose votes favor industry interests."

Democrats who changed their voting to support immunity for Telcos:

PAC contributions from Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint (January 2005 - March 2008).

 

 

Contribution

House Member

District

1

29500

Clyburn, James

SC-6

2

29000

Hoyer, Steny

MD-5

3

28000

Emanuel, Rahm

IL-5

4

27500

Boucher, Frederick

VA-9

5

26000

Meeks, Gregory

NY-6

6

24500

Crowley, Joseph

NY-7

7

24500

Pelosi, Nancy

CA-8

8

24000

Bean, Melissa

IL-8

9

22500

Edwards, Thomas

TX-17

10

22100

Baca, Joe

CA-43

11

21500

Engel, Eliot

NY-17

12

19000

Bishop, Sanford

GA-2

13

18500

Moore, Dennis

KS-3

14

18500

Spratt, John

SC-5

15

18500

Thompson, Bennie

MS-2

16

16000

Melancon, Charles

LA-3

17

15500

Cuellar, Henry

TX-28

18

15500

Stupak, Bart

MI-1

19

15000

Ackerman, Gary

NY-5

20

14800

Butterfield, George

NC-1

21

14300

Tanner, John

TN-8

22

14000

Kind, Ronald

WI-3

23

13500

Barrow, John

GA-12

24

13500

Gordon, Barton

TN-6

25

12500

Costa, Jim

CA-20

26

12500

Ross, Mike

AR-4

27

12000

Green, Al

TX-9

28

12000

Hinojosa, Rubén

TX-15

29

11000

Cardoza, Dennis

CA-18

30

11000

Schiff, Adam

CA-29

31

10000

Boswell, Leonard

IA-3

32

9000

Boyd, F.

FL-2

33

9000

Tauscher, Ellen

CA-10

34

8500

Skelton, Ike

MO-4

35

8000

Ellsworth, Brad

IN-8

36

7500

Gutierrez, Luis

IL-4

37

7500

Rahall, Nick

WV-3

38

7000

Harman, Jane

CA-36

39

7000

Langevin, James

RI-2

40

7000

Lipinski, Daniel

IL-3

41

7000

Reyes, Silvestre

TX-16

42

6500

Matheson, Jim

UT-2

43

6500

Scott, David

GA-13

44

6500

Wilson, Charles

OH-6

45

6000

Cleaver, Emanuel

MO-5

46

6000

Etheridge, Bob

NC-2

47

6000

Herseth Sandlin, Stephanie

SD-0

48

6000

Salazar, John

CO-3

49

5500

Hastings, Alcee

FL-23

50

5500

McCarthy, Carolyn

NY-4

51

5500

McIntyre, Mike

NC-7

52

5000

Davis, Artur

AL-7

53

5000

Murtha, John

PA-12

54

5000

Ortiz, Solomon

TX-27

55

4500

Brown, Corrine

FL-3

56

4500

Donnelly, Joe

IN-2

57

4000

Berman, Howard

CA-28

58

4000

Bishop, Timothy

NY-1

59

4000

Dicks, Norman

WA-6

60

4000

Lowey, Nita

NY-18

61

4000

Mahoney, Tim

FL-16

62

3000

Murphy, Patrick

PA-8

63

3000

Smith, Adam

WA-9

64

2500

Arcuri, Michael

NY-24

65

2000

Altmire, Jason

PA-4

66

2000

Castor, Kathy

FL-11

67

2000

Chandler, Ben

KY-6

68

2000

Giffords, Gabrielle

AZ-8

69

2000

Higgins, Brian

NY-27

70

2000

McNerney, Jerry

CA-11

71

2000

Mitchell, Harry

AZ-5

72

2000

Pomeroy, Earl

ND-0

73

2000

Sherman, Brad

CA-27

74

2000

Sires, Albio

NJ-13

75

1000

Berkley, Shelley

NV-1

76

1000

Boyda, Nancy

KS-2

77

1000

Gillibrand, Kirsten

NY-20

78

1000

Kanjorski, Paul

PA-11

79

1000

Kildee, Dale

MI-5

80

1000

Klein, Ron

FL-22

81

1000

Perlmutter, Ed

CO-7

82

1000

Rodriguez, Ciro

TX-23

83

1000

Space, Zackary

OH-18

84

0

Baird, Brian

WA-3

85

0

Berry, Robert

AR-1

86

0

Marshall, James

GA-8

87

0

Peterson, Collin

MN-7

88

0

Richardson, Laura

CA-37

89

0

Ruppersberger, C.A.

MD-2

90

0

Sestak, Joe

PA-7

91

0

Snyder, Victor

AR-2

92

0

Taylor, Gene

MS-4

93

0

Udall, Mark

CO-2

94

0

Yarmuth, John

KY-3

The FISA bill also requires the administration to submit surveillance procedures to the secret FISA court for approval before surveillance could begin, except in emergency circumstances. The bill's provisions expire at the end of 2012.

The March 14th vote was on the House amendment (to the Senate amendment to H.R. 3773), to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA).

Who We Are:

 MAPLight.org is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that provides unprecedented government transparency, shining a light on our broken system of money-dominated politics. We track all campaign contributions given to members of Congress, and how every member of Congress votes on every bill, revealing connections between money and politics never before possible to see. Our concise graphs show correlations between money and votes, and timelines of contributions and votes, showing specifics about when legislators received large donations before and after a vote.

About MAPLight.org:

MAPLight.org is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Berkeley, California. Its search engine at MAPLight.org illuminates the connection between Money And Politics (MAP) via an unprecedented database of campaign contributions and legislative outcomes. Data sources include: GovTrack.us; Center for Responsive Politics (OpenSecrets.org); Federal Election Commission (FEC); and National Institute on Money in State Politics (NIMSP). Support and opposition data is obtained through testimony at public hearings, proprietary news databases and public statements on the websites of trade associations and other groups. To learn more visit MAPLight.org. If our work has been helpful to you, please consider supporting us.

Editors Note:

Interviews available with Daniel Newman

Media Contact

Pamela Behrsin
Communications
Office: (510) 868-0894
pamela@maplight.org