Silent Partners

Published — November 21, 2005 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Study findings for “Indictment of a System”

Introduction

Actions Similar to DeLay’s Disputed Transactions

  • At least 30 other members of Congress have accepted a total of $7.8 million in corporate donations to their leadership 527 committees since 2000, a Center analysis has found. These organizations transferred $3.5 million to national party committees, which later gave $14 million to candidates in state elections.
  • The use of these corporate donations took place on both sides of the congressional aisle, with 13 Democrats and 18 Republicans making similar transactions until the 2002 election, when a federal law went into effect forbidding federal lawmakers to have 527 organizations.
  • Some of the corporate donors that gave the most money to these congressional leadership 527s include: AT&T with $716,000 in contributions; SBC Corp. with $698,000; and Philip Morris (now Altria) with $486,000.
  • While Texas is one of 23 states that prohibits the use of such corporate donations to candidates in state elections, 27 states allow some use of corporate funds in state races.
  • Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., who has temporarily replaced Tom DeLay as House majority leader, accepted more than $1 million in contributions from corporations to his organization Rely On Your Beliefs Fund. Missouri allows corporate donations to state candidates, political action committees and parties. Blunt’s 527 sent only a small amount of money to a national party committee, but sent $661,000 directly to the Missouri Republican State Committee.
  • The Center also has found that another DeLay 527, Americans for a Republican Majority Non-Federal Account, has received more than $1.7 million in corporate money and made almost $250,000 in transfers to national party committees.

More Activity by Companies named in the DeLay Indictment

  • The Center’s study found that many of the same companies named in the DeLay indictment also made large donations to leadership 527s run by other members of Congress. A total of 12 legislators accepted more than $300,000 from four of these same six companies.
  • Blunt has received contributions from four of the same companies implicated in the DeLay indictment: Diversified Collection Services Inc. ($50,000); Bacardi U.S.A. Inc. ($5,000); Sears, Roebuck and Co. ($4,000); and Cornell Companies Inc. ($5,000).
  • DeLay accepted another $50,000 from these companies to another 527 he ran, Americans for a Republican Majority Non-Federal Account. The donations included $25,000 from Sears Roebuck and Co.; $20,000 from Bacardi USA Inc.; and $5,000 from Diversified Collection Services Inc. These transactions and this 527 group were not named in the first indictment.
Members of Congress who accepted corporate donations to leadership 527s and subsequently transferred funds to national parties

Corporate Money Accepted Member of Congress Name of Congressional 527 Fund Transferred to National Parties
$462,450 Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. Glacier PAC non-federal $57,500
$1,110,361 Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. Rely On Your Beliefs Fund $800
$36,500 Rep. Henry Bonilla, R-Texas American Dream PAC $10,000
$107,500 Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont. Friends of the Big Sky Non-Federal Account $30,000
$6,500 Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y. HillPAC-NY $75,000
$103,009 Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D. DAKPAC-non-federal Account $40,000
$37,000 Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, R-Calif. American Prosperity PAC State Fund $25,000
$1,666,092 Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas Americans for a Republican Majority Non-Federal Account $249,760
$59,500 Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M. Pete’s PAC Non-Federal Account $10,000
$126,000 Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D. Great Plains Leadership Fund-non-federal $125,767
$32,000 Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif. American Success PAC Non-Federal Account $63,000
$268,000 Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn. Volunteer PAC – Non Federal $490,000
$31,200 Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. Sandhills PAC Non-Federal Account $10,000
$602,765 House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill. KOMPAC State Victory Fund $10,233
$18,500 Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla. Fund for a Conservative Future Non-Federal Account $42,000
$37,000 Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I. Rhode Island Political Action Committee Non-Federal $100,000
$552 Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. Committee for a Democratic Majority $40,000
$285,500 Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. Citizen Soldier Fund – non-federal Account $120,000
$443,747 Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss. New Republican Majority Fund – State PAC $545,491
$51,100 Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y. Committee for Leadership and Progress-VA $66,214
$52,500 Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. M-PAC – non-federal Account $30,000
$46,500 Rep. Deborah Pryce, R-Ohio Promoting Republicans You Can Elect PAC Non-Federal Account $7,000
$524,300 Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y. National Leadership PAC-non-federal $186,250
$1,079,652 Senate Minority Whip Harry Reid, D-Nev. Searchlight Leadership Fund NonFed $530,728
$303,000 Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa. America’s Foundation Non-Federal Account $500,000
$45,200 Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas People for Enterprise, Trade and Economic Growth $50,000
$110,107 Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska Northern Lights PAC-Non-Federal Account $27,500
$24,847 Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif. Victory in November Election PAC – non-federal Acct $22,000
$88,500 Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa. Committee for a United Republican Team – Non Federal $5,000
$24,000 Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C. Carolina Majority PAC $27,510
$48,000 Rep. David Wu, D-Ore. Education and Opportunity Fund $10,000
Former members of Congress who accepted corporate donations to leadership 527s and subsequently transferred funds to national parties

Corporate Money Accepted Member of Congress Name of Congressional 527 Fund Amount Transferred to National Parties
$909,800.00 former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D. DASHPAC – non-federal Account $640,000.00
$284,511.74 former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas Freedom Works Non-Federal PAC $161,000.00
$300 former Sen. Spencer Abraham, R-Mich. Fund for American Opportunity $7,500.00
$13,250.00 former Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Calif. Great American Patriots PAC Non-Federal Account $5,000.00
$44,097.50 former Rep. Chris John, D-La. GUMBO PAC Non Federal Account $12,211.94
$657,375.50 former Rep. Martin Frost, D-Texas Lone Star Fund – non-federal Account $85,233.25
$551,000.00 former Sen. Don Nickles, R-Okla. Republican Majority Fund Non-Federal Account $440,000.00
$63,864.00 former Rep. John Doolittle, R-Calif. Superior California Leadership Fund – State $3,786.00
$297,314 former Sen. John Breaux, D-La. Mainstream America Political Action Committee $95,000
$121,989 former Sen. Ernest Hollings, D-S.C. Citizens for a Competitive America $25,000

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