Public Campaign Action Fund's Campaign Money Watch project debuted a new website today. McCain's Lobbyists analyzes data from the Center for Responsive Politics to show the vast amount of money lobbyists and their clients have poured into McCain's campaign, and how donations from the clients of lobbyists tied to the McCain campaign have influenced policy. Click on a lobbyist to see how money goes both ways.
The site is starting to get attention, and there are still stories coming out referencing Campaign Money Watch's investigation of the money the oil industry has given McCain, and how many of those donations coincided with McCain's announcement of support for offshore oil drilling. See stories from the New York Times and the Washington Post that focus on the money from the Hess Corporation that flooded McCain's campaign -- that's the story Talking Points Memo focused on yesterday.
Also, see this story in the Wall Street Journal that aggregates a lot of different reporting on the subject of lobbyist contributions. Lawmakers may launch rhetorical attacks on lobbyists, but they're around when the checks are handed out -- lobbyists have given $140 million to lawmakers this year alone. From the article:
Presidential candidates are typically less dependent on lobbyists' money. A $2,300 cap on individual donations requires them to reach beyond the small circle of Washington lobbyists.
Congressional candidates took a much higher percentage of their donations from lobbyists, who often organize fund-raisers to benefit lawmakers. Lobbyist donations to House and Senate candidates totaled about $58 million for each party.
Lobbyists also spent $13.5 million on so-called honorary expenses -- for tickets to events honoring a lawmaker. Separately, lobbyists donated a total of $500,000 to presidential libraries, including two contributions to the Abraham Lincoln library.
So much, and up until very recently so little accountability. With projects like McCain's Lobbyists, we aim to change that.