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FOLLOW THE MONEY! Congress Voting for Syrian War/NSA Spying

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David Kravets in “Senators Authorizing Syria Strike Got More Defense Cash Than Lawmakers Voting No” declares:

Senators voting Wednesday to authorize a Syria strike received, on average, 83 percent more campaign financing from defense contractors than lawmakers voting against war.

Overall, political action committees and employees from defense and intelligence firms such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, United Technologies, Honeywell International, and others ponied up $1,006,887 to the 17 members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who voted yes or no on the authorization Wednesday, according to an analysis by Maplight, the Berkeley-based nonprofit that performed the inquiry at WIRED’s request.

Committee members who voted to authorize what the resolution called a “limited” strike averaged $72,850 in defense campaign financing from the pot. Committee members who voted against the resolution averaged $39,770, according to the data.

Kravets’ data concerning contributions from the defense industry had been collected by Maplight (via opensecrets.com) from 2007 to 2012.

The Foreign Relations Committee supported the authorization of Obama to punish Syria for using chemical weapons, an allegation that has yet to be proven, 10 to 7. Voting yes was Barbara Boxer (D-CA receiving $24,150), Ben Cardin (D-MD $80,550), Chris Coons (D-DE $19,500), Bob Corker (R-TN $70,850), Dick Durbin (D-IL $127,350), Jeff Flake (R-AZ $26,900), Timothy Kaine (D-VA $101,025), John McCain (R-AZ $176,300), Bob Menendez (D-NJ $60,000) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH $41,872).

Clearly, this list proves that being pimped out by the defense industry is a bipartisan opportunity.

The top three defense-campaign earning recipients who voted yes to a strike on Syria on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) receiving $176,300
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) receiving $127,350
Sen. Timothy Kaine (D-VA) receiving $101,025

David Kravets on July 26, 2013 in “Lawmakers Who Upheld NSA Phone Spying Received Double the Defense Industry Cash” also had declared:

The numbers tell the story — in votes and dollars. On Wednesday, the House voted 217 to 205 not to rein in the NSA’s phone-spying dragnet. It turns out that those 217 “no” voters received twice as much campaign financing from the defense and intelligence industry as the 205 “yes” voters.

That’s the upshot of a new analysis by MapLight, a Berkeley-based non-profit that performed the inquiry at WIRED’s request. The investigation shows that defense cash was a better predictor of a member’s vote on the Amash amendment than party affiliation. House members who voted to continue the massive phone-call-metadata spy program, on average, raked in 122 percent more money from defense contractors than those who voted to dismantle it.

Overall, political action committees and employees from defense and intelligence firms such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, United Technologies, Honeywell International, and others ponied up $12.97 million in donations for a two-year period ending December 31, 2012, according to the analysis, which MapLight performed with financing data from OpenSecrets. Lawmakers who voted to continue the NSA dragnet-surveillance program averaged $41,635 from the pot, whereas House members who voted to repeal authority averaged $18,765.

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan) who proposed the defeated NSA-curbing amendment had received only $1,400 from the defense industry, putting him on the bottom 50 for the two-year period.

Those voting against the Amash amendment were House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) who ranked 15th of donees having received $131,000, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelois (D-CA) who took in $47,000 from defense firms. Rep. Howard McKeon (R-California) was the largest House recipient of defense industry money with $526,600. He voted, too, against the Amash amendment. What a surprise.

According to Kravets of the 26 House members who had not received any defense financing, 16 of them voted to curb government surveillance!

Daniel G. Newman, Maplight president and co-founder:

How can we trust legislators to vote in the public interest when they are dependent on industry campaign funding to get elected? Our broken money and politics system forces lawmakers into a conflict of interest between lawmakers’ voters and their donors.

Pretty clear who is winning out or has won out on that “conflict of interest”! NOT the American citizenry!

[cross-posted at open salon]

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