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FISA: Telco PACs Gave $8K to Dems Who Changed Vote

For Immediate Release:

June 24, 2008


House Dems Who Changed Their Vote To Support Fisa Bill, Giving Immunity To Telcos, Received, On Average, $8,359 In PAC Contributions From Verizon, At&T, And Sprint

BERKELEY, CA—Last week, on June 20, the House of Representatives approved a compromise bill to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA). The bill sets new electronic surveillance rules that effectively shield telecommunications companies from lawsuits resulting from the government’s warrantless eavesdropping on phone calls and viewing of emails of private citizens in the U.S. Approximately 40 lawsuits have been filed with potential damages totaling in the billions of dollars.

On March 14 of this year the House passed an amendment that rejected retroactive immunity for phone carriers who helped the National Security Agency carry out the illegal wiretapping program without proper warrants. Ninety-four House Democrats voted in favor of this measure--rejecting immunity--on March 14, then ‘changed’ to vote in favor of the June 20 House bill--approving immunity.

“Why did these ninety-four House members have a change of heart?” asked Daniel Newman, executive director of MAPLight.org, “Their constituents deserve answers.”

MAPLight.org's research department compiled PAC campaign contributions from Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint and correlated them with the voting records of all House members who voted on last week’s FISA bill. (The analysis used data from CRP; contributions were from January 2005 through March 2008). Here are the findings:


Comparing Democrats' Votes (March 14th and June 20th votes):

Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint gave PAC contributions averaging:

$8,359 to each Democrat who changed their position to support immunity for Telcos (94 Dems)
$4,987 to each Democrat who remained opposed to immunity for Telcos (116 Dems)

88 percent of the Dems who changed to supporting immunity (83 Dems of the 94) received PAC contributions from Verizon, AT&T, or Sprint during the last three years (Jan. 2005-Mar. 2008). See below for list of these 94 Dems.


All House Members (June 20th vote:)
Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint gave PAC contributions averaging:

$9,659 to each member of the House voting "YES" (105-Dem, 188-Rep)
$4,810 to each member of the House voting "NO" (128-Dem, 1-Rep)

MAPLight.org's research department findings are based on the combination of contribution data from the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) with voting data from THOMAS via GovTrack.us.

"Campaign contributions bias our legislative system,” said Daniel Newman, Executive Director of MAPLight.org. “Simply put, candidates who take positions contrary to industry interests are unlikely to receive industry funds and thus have fewer resources for their election campaigns than those whose votes favor industry interests."

Democrats who changed their voting to support immunity for Telcos:

PAC contributions from Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint (January 2005 - March 2008).
Contribution House Member District
1 29500 Clyburn, James SC-6
2 29000 Hoyer, Steny MD-5
3 28000 Emanuel, Rahm IL-5
4 27500 Boucher, Frederick VA-9
5 26000 Meeks, Gregory NY-6
6 24500 Crowley, Joseph NY-7
7 24500 Pelosi, Nancy CA-8
8 24000 Bean, Melissa IL-8
9 22500 Edwards, Thomas TX-17
10 22100 Baca, Joe CA-43
11 21500 Engel, Eliot NY-17
12 19000 Bishop, Sanford GA-2
13 18500 Moore, Dennis KS-3
14 18500 Spratt, John SC-5
15 18500 Thompson, Bennie MS-2
16 16000 Melancon, Charles LA-3
17 15500 Cuellar, Henry TX-28
18 15500 Stupak, Bart MI-1
19 15000 Ackerman, Gary NY-5
20 14800 Butterfield, George NC-1
21 14300 Tanner, John TN-8
22 14000 Kind, Ronald WI-3
23 13500 Barrow, John GA-12
24 13500 Gordon, Barton TN-6
25 12500 Costa, Jim CA-20
26 12500 Ross, Mike AR-4
27 12000 Green, Al TX-9
28 12000 Hinojosa, Rubén TX-15
29 11000 Cardoza, Dennis CA-18
30 11000 Schiff, Adam CA-29
31 10000 Boswell, Leonard IA-3
32 9000 Boyd, F. FL-2
33 9000 Tauscher, Ellen CA-10
34 8500 Skelton, Ike MO-4
35 8000 Ellsworth, Brad IN-8
36 7500 Gutierrez, Luis IL-4
37 7500 Rahall, Nick WV-3
38 7000 Harman, Jane CA-36
39 7000 Langevin, James RI-2
40 7000 Lipinski, Daniel IL-3
41 7000 Reyes, Silvestre TX-16
42 6500 Matheson, Jim UT-2
43 6500 Scott, David GA-13
44 6500 Wilson, Charles OH-6
45 6000 Cleaver, Emanuel MO-5
46 6000 Etheridge, Bob NC-2
47 6000 Herseth Sandlin, Stephanie SD-0
48 6000 Salazar, John CO-3
49 5500 Hastings, Alcee FL-23
50 5500 McCarthy, Carolyn NY-4
51 5500 McIntyre, Mike NC-7
52 5000 Davis, Artur AL-7
53 5000 Murtha, John PA-12
54 5000 Ortiz, Solomon TX-27
55 4500 Brown, Corrine FL-3
56 4500 Donnelly, Joe IN-2
57 4000 Berman, Howard CA-28
58 4000 Bishop, Timothy NY-1
59 4000 Dicks, Norman WA-6
60 4000 Lowey, Nita NY-18
61 4000 Mahoney, Tim FL-16
62 3000 Murphy, Patrick PA-8
63 3000 Smith, Adam WA-9
64 2500 Arcuri, Michael NY-24
65 2000 Altmire, Jason PA-4
66 2000 Castor, Kathy FL-11
67 2000 Chandler, Ben KY-6
68 2000 Giffords, Gabrielle AZ-8
69 2000 Higgins, Brian NY-27
70 2000 McNerney, Jerry CA-11
71 2000 Mitchell, Harry AZ-5
72 2000 Pomeroy, Earl ND-0
73 2000 Sherman, Brad CA-27
74 2000 Sires, Albio NJ-13
75 1000 Berkley, Shelley NV-1
76 1000 Boyda, Nancy KS-2
77 1000 Gillibrand, Kirsten NY-20
78 1000 Kanjorski, Paul PA-11
79 1000 Kildee, Dale MI-5
80 1000 Klein, Ron FL-22
81 1000 Perlmutter, Ed CO-7
82 1000 Rodriguez, Ciro TX-23
83 1000 Space, Zackary OH-18
84 0 Baird, Brian WA-3
85 0 Berry, Robert AR-1
86 0 Marshall, James GA-8
87 0 Peterson, Collin MN-7
88 0 Richardson, Laura CA-37
89 0 Ruppersberger, C.A. MD-2
90 0 Sestak, Joe PA-7
91 0 Snyder, Victor AR-2
92 0 Taylor, Gene MS-4
93 0 Udall, Mark CO-2
94 0 Yarmuth, John KY-3
The FISA bill also requires the administration to submit surveillance procedures to the secret FISA court for approval before surveillance could begin, except in emergency circumstances. The bill's provisions expire at the end of 2012.

The March 16th vote was on the House amendment (to the Senate amendment to H.R. 3773), to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA).

Who We Are:
MAPLight.org is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that provides unprecedented government transparency, shining a light on our broken system of money-dominated politics. We track all campaign contributions given to members of Congress, and how every member of Congress votes on every bill, revealing connections between money and politics never before possible to see. Our concise graphs show correlations between money and votes, and timelines of contributions and votes, showing specifics about when legislators received large donations before and after a vote.

About MAPLight.org:
MAPLight.org is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Berkeley, California. Its search engine at MAPLight.org illuminates the connection between Money And Politics (MAP) via an unprecedented database of campaign contributions and legislative outcomes. Data sources include: GovTrack.us; Center for Responsive Politics (OpenSecrets.org); Federal Election Commission (FEC); and National Institute on Money in State Politics (NIMSP). Support and opposition data is obtained through testimony at public hearings, proprietary news databases and public statements on the websites of trade associations and other groups. To learn more visit MAPLight.org.


ENDS

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