Groups blast McConnell for gridlock in Washington that only serves to benefit his big donors
Louisville, Ky.—A new report by money-in-politics watchdog Public Campaign Action Fund criticizes Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for abusing the filibuster over the past six years while reaping campaign contributions from corporate interests that benefited from his actions. The report was released today by four Kentucky organizations as the United States Senate began debate about new rules geared at reducing gridlock in Washington, D.C.
Titled “Cashing in on Obstruction,” the report includes background on the recent increase in the use of the filibuster by Republicans, Sen. McConnell’s political fundraising, and eight cases when legislation or nominations were blocked by abuse of Senate rules by McConnell and his Senate allies. Leaders from the Kentucky AFL-CIO, Progress Kentucky, Common Cause Kentucky, and IUE-CWA Local appeared at a press conference outside the Gene Snyder Federal Building in downtown Louisville to express their concern about McConnell’s opposition to ending gridlock.
“Congress isn’t working for Kentuckians but it is working for lobbyists and corporate interests,” said Bill Londrigan, President of the Kentucky AFL-CIO. “Senator McConnell has always put his donors’ interests before the needs of middle class families, but now he’s helped to grind Washington to a halt when we need someone on our side.”
“When making a choice, Mitch McConnell sides with big donors time and time again,” said Shawn Reilly of Progress Kentucky. “As this report shows, on issue after issue McConnell asks himself how he can get ahead rather than how the country can get ahead. That’s wrong.
“Even on matters of broad public support and common sense change, like disclosing the source of money behind attack ads in our elections, Senator McConnell stands in the way,” commented Richard Beliles, chair of Common Cause Kentucky. “His actions will lead to more secrecy of campaign funding and, according to Senator John McCain, that will lead to more corruption. Ending the abuse of the filibuster means passing this necessary legislation.”
“Let me put it clearly: Kentucky needs jobs and McConnell and his allies blocked legislation to create jobs here and around the country,” Steve Wimsatt of IUE-CWA Local 761 said. “Legislation opposed by his corporate funders would have ended the tax breaks they get by shipping jobs overseas. He pockets the campaign money from out-of-state donors and Washington lobbyists, and we’re left wondering whether we have anyone representing our interests in the Senate.”
A few findings from the 28-page report:
- Under McConnell’s leadership, the number of filibusters in each two-year session of Congress, on average, has jumped to 130, double the average number of filibusters in each session during the last time the Democrats were in the Senate minority.
- On March 26, 2012, the very day debate began on a bill to repeal subsidies to Big Oil, an astonishing $131,500 in campaign contributions passed from the hands of oil donors in Midland, Texas into Mitch McConnell’s re-election war chest. Three days later the bill failed by filibuster.
- Executives and PACs representing companies that lobbied against bringing jobs back to America by ending tax breaks for offshoring operations have given McConnell nearly one million dollars in campaign contributions. A Republican filibuster of the legislation in 2010 prevailed, as did a filibuster of similar legislation in 2012. Big McConnell donors such as GE, Microsoft, and Exxon Mobil also have hundreds of billions in untaxed profits stashed overseas.
A full copy of the report can be found at http://campaignmoney.org/mcconnell/filibuster.
Public Campaign Action Fund is dedicated to improving America’s election laws so that they better lead to government of, by, and for the people.
The Kentucky AFL-CIO is the Commonwealth’s largest federation of labor unions.
Progress Kentucky grassroots movement using traditional media, new media, and direct action to hold Mitch McConnell accountable for failing Kentucky.
Common Cause Kentucky works to promote good citizenship, and to advocate open, honest, and accessible state and local government.
IUE-CWA Local 761 represents 3,600 workers at the General Electric Appliance Park manufacturing plant in Louisville, Kentucky.