DATA RELEASE: US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement - Supporters Gave 8 Times More To House Members Voting Yes, to Stall Fast-Track

Supporters Gave Average of $6,000 to Each Member on House Committee on Rules Voting Yes 

 

BERKELEY, CA, April 10, 2008 - The House voted 224-Yes to 195-No to remove a rule that would force a vote on the US-Colombia trade agreement within 60 legislative days. The agreement was sent by President Bush on Tuesday. MAPLight.org's research department revealed some interesting findings. Supporters of the bill (labor unions and human rights groups) gave an average of $7,940 to each legislator who voted Yes and gave $963 to each legislator voting No (that's 8 times more to legislators voting Yes). Opponents of the bill (agribusiness, manufacturers, retail clothing groups) gave an average of $32,816 to each legislator who voted No, and an average of $20,276 to each legislator who voted Yes.

The discrepancies for money given by supporters to members of the House Committee on Rules: Supporters gave an average of $6,144 to each member voting Yes and $0 to each member voting no. Opponents gave an average of $25,198 to each member voting yes and $34,727 to each member voting no. Of the nine committee Democrats voting to pass the bill, Dennis Cardoza’s (D-CA) received the most from opponents, $190,315. Without Cardoza's contributions the average from opponents to the 8 Democrats voting yes is $4,558.

"Organized labor and human rights groups in the U.S. have generally opposed the Colombia deal because of the problems of labor leaders in the South American country. Business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have actively lobbied for the deal, saying it will remove tariffs that impede American exports to the country," said Associated Press. Most Colombian goods have duty-free status when sold in the United States. Trade between the US and Columbia reached approximately $18 billion last year. For more information on H.Res. 1092 visit: H. Res. 1092 Whip Pack

MAPLight.org reveals how contributions correlate with legislation so that citizens have key information needed to draw their own conclusions about how campaign contributions affect policy. Campaign contributions are only one factor affecting legislator behavior. The correlations we highlight between industry and union giving and legislative outcomes do not show that one caused the other, and we do not make this claim. We do make the claim, however, that campaign contributions bias our legislative system. 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.

Our Research Data:

MAPLight.org 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. MAPLight.org’s research department uses Web 2.0 data mashup technology to combine three data sets: campaign contribution data from the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) (OpenSecrets.org) and National Institute on Money in State Politics (NIMSP), special interest support and opposition for each bill in Congress (MAPLight.org research team), and legislative voting records and bill information (THOMAS via GovTrack.us).

CRP contribution data used in this report is from January 2005 - February 2008.

MAPLight.org's data has been cited in the NY Times, Washington Post and National Journal; their Web site is fast becoming a favorite tool for journalists nationwide.

H.Res.1092

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 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. Support and opposition data is obtained through testimony at public hearings, proprietary news databases and public statements on the Web sites 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 with Daniel Newman are available.

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Communications
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pamela@maplight.org