New Gop Leader Bought Support From Colleagues

WASHINGTON – Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, gave nearly $150,000 to colleagues from his leadership political action committee to influence today’s vote for majority leader, according to fundraising records he filed with the Federal Election Commission Tuesday and reported today in a Capitol Hill newspaper.

The Hill today reported that Rep. Boehner gave $150,000 to 30 Republican colleagues on Dec. 15, according to his filing for his leadership committee, the Freedom Project. More than a dozen Republicans receiving money from Rep. Boehner declared their intention to vote for him ahead of today’s vote, including Rep. Gresham Barrett, R-S.C., Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio., Rep. Melissa Hart, R-Pa., Rep. Joe Knollenberg R-Mich., Rep. Steve LaTourette, R-Ohio, Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev., Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., Rep. Dennis Rehberg, R-Mont., Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, and Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb.

A mock campaign ad linking Rep. Boehner to corruption emerged online last week in the race to succeed Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, as House majority leader. “Boehner for Republican Majority Leader,” the ad says. “He knows K Street like the palm of his hand.”

The ad was produced by two public interest groups, the Public Campaign and the Campaign for America’s Future, and e-mailed to hundreds of thousands of their supporters. Advertisements linking to the ads were placed on 80 websites with millions of combined viewers. The two groups announced a joint year long campaign last month to clean up corruption in Congress with a comprehensive reform agenda including public financing of elections.

Public Campaign executive director Nick Nyhart noted that Rep. Boehner’s victory shows that House Republicans are still open for business.

“Republicans in Congress have signaled that they want reform – but not very much reform,” said Nyhart. “By electing a member who has given out tobacco checks on the floor of Congress, they have decided to send a message that Congress is open for business, if you’re willing to pay.”

Campaign for America’s Future co-director Roger Hickey said Rep. Boehner’s election won’t help everyday people struggling to make ends meet.

“There are too many similarities between John Boehner and Tom DeLay for Americans to see this as anything but more of the same corruption,” said Hickey. “Boehner’s history is one in which he’s put donors first, constituents last.”

# # #

**NOTE: Media representatives interested in a copy of the mock campaign ad and background on Rep. Boehner should visit www.publicampaign.org/leadership or www.ourfuture.org .**

REP. JOHN BOENER: MORE OF THE SAME
BACKGROUND

Boehner Likes To Travel On The Dime Of Special Interests.
A group of Washington lobbyists led by Richard Kessler, under the umbrella of the Ripon Educational Fund and the Ripon Society, has spent millions of dollars taking lawmakers to European capitals and U.S. resorts, thereby skirting congressional ethics rules that forbid registered lobbyists from paying for congressional travel. John Boehner took two trips costing a total of at least $13,920.

Boehner Has Connections To The Abramoff Scandal.
John Boehner received $32,500 in political contributions from Indian tribes represented by fallen lobbyist Jack Abramoff, placing him in the top tier of lawmakers who got donations from the lobbyist or his clients. Only 12 other members of Congress raked in more money than Boehner.

Boehner Votes With Tom Delay.
John Boehner voted with Tom DeLay 96 percent of the time between 1991 and 2005.

John Boehner Has Close Ties To K Street Like Tom Delay.
Boehner played a key role in Tom DeLay’s vaunted “K Street Project” to encourage lobbying firms to hire Republicans. In fact, beginning soon after the GOP took control of Congress in 1995, Boehner held weekly meetings in the speaker’s suite in the Capitol with about a dozen of the most powerful lobbyists. “He was a policy traffic cop for the business community,” said a colleague of Boehner’s of his role as chairman of the GOP conference. “He … translated business outreach into votes.” Across the span of his career, Boehner has raised nearly 95 percent of his money from business interests.

John Boehner Raises Money From The Industries He Regulates.
Special interest groups and lobbyists have two paths by which to try to influence John Boehner: his campaign account and his leadership PAC, the Freedom Project. Boehner chairs the powerful Committee on Education and the Workforce, which has jurisdiction over minimum wage, worker safety and compensation, and employee protections, as well as student loan policy. Boehner also serves as vice chair of the Committee on Agriculture, which has jurisdiction over a broad range of agribusiness, including the tobacco industry. From student loans to tobacco, Boehner has favored special interests over the public interest.

Boehner’s 10th-Highest Contributor Is Tobacco Giant RJR Nabisco/RJ Reynolds Tobacco.
The cigarette manufacturer is also a consistent and generous donor to Boehner’s Freedom Project leadership PAC. Some argue that Boehner and other Republican leaders reneged on a promise to introduce legislation in 1998 to prevent children from smoking after they received large contributions from tobacco industry PACs. Boehner took $10,800 from the tobacco industry during that cycle. At the time, the average contribution from the tobacco industry to Boehner and other members of the Republican leadership was $12,700, over five times more than the average House member’s $2,360. In 1996, Boehner came under fire for distributing campaign checks from tobacco interests to colleagues on the House floor.

Boehner Supported Legislation That Benefits Banks That Make Student Loans And Increase Payments For Millions Of Students.
Between 2003 and 2004, banks and other institutions that provide loans to students donated nearly $60,000 to Boehner and nearly $70,000 to his leadership PAC, the Freedom Project.

Boehner Curries Favor With Fellow Republicans.
Of the $8.7 million he has raised in his congressional career, John Boehner has donated $2.7 million to Republican colleagues and candidates since 1998, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. “Money talks, and John is listened to,” said Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, who is himself embroiled in the Abramoff scandal.

# # #