All of a sudden, committee chairman money trail matters

The Center for Public Integrity clearly was expecting a GOP House takeover, because at least a few days (probably weeks) of work evidently went into their new report on the revolving door connections and campaign cash of the presumptive incoming Republican committee chairmen.

I’m glad they did this work, and I expect to use the report as a resource. But when I looked at the archives of their site, I couldn’t find the report they did on incoming Democratic chairmen after the 2006 election — and there was plenty of dirt to dig up.

Max Baucus, chairman of the Finance Committee, is cozy with K Street as any lawmaker in Washington, second only to Ted Kennedy in sending his staffers through the revolving door. Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank was tight with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell was married to a GM lobbyist. Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd was in bed with banks and insurers (remember the Countrywide VIP loan). Transportation Committee Chairman Jim Oberstar was funded by the Teamsters. And then there was Charlie Rangel at Ways & Means.

But outfits like the Center for Public Integrity don’t ask about those money trails and revolving doors that lead to the Left.

One example, the CPI report lays out the Wall Street backing for presumptive incoming Financial Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus. Again, that’s good work. But it might be worth mentioning that Bachus’s $118,900 from the securities/investment industry according to the Center for Responsive Politics, is less than half of what Barney Frank got.

Sadly, the mainstream media aren’t much different.

(Remember when the New York Times wrote that John Boehner’s “ties” to K Street “seem especially deep,” omitting that Nancy Pelosi had raised twice as much from lobbyists as Boehner and that Steny Hoyer was far, far tighter with K Street by any measure?)

Expect to see plenty more media scrutiny of special interests and the House. I’ve got nothing against such scrutiny, except that I kind of enjoyed having very little competition on that beat over the past four years.

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