If you read this weekend’s New York Times’ hit job on would-be Speaker John Boehner and his “lobbyist friends,” you might think, as the reporter clearly thinks, that John Boehner is cozier with lobbyists than most powerful politicians are.
But did you know:
- Nancy Pelosi has raised almost twice as much money from lobbyists this election as Boehner has?
- At least 18 House Democrats have raised more lobbyist cash this election than Boehner has.
- Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid have pocketed more lobbyist cash in the past 18 months than Boehner has raised in the past 6 elections, combined?
Here’s the heart of the article, with emphasis added:
While many lawmakers in each party have networks of donors, lobbyists and former aides who now represent corporate interests, Mr. Boehner’s ties seem especially deep.
Yes, to Times reporter Eric Lipton, Boehner’s lobbyist ties seem especially deep. What if we tried to use facts and data, rather than the reporter’s impression, to measure Boehner’s lobbyist ties against those of other politicians.
Let’s start with campaign contributions. The Times writes:
[Lobbyists] have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to his campaigns
Here’s what they mean: from 1999 until today, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, Boehner has raised $299,490 from lobbyists.
For comparison, Harry Reid, Blanche Lincoln, and Chuck Schumer have each raised more money from lobbyists in this cycle alone.
Sure, Boehner is too close to lobbyists, but the money trail says he isn’t closer than Nancy Pelosi.