Who owns Congress?

This chart is from the September / October issue of Mother Jones magazine, and reflects donations that individual Senators and Representatives have received over their entire political careers.

What it shows is that more than half the Senate and a third of the House of Representatives are more beholden to Wall Street than to any other interest, and that while about a third of the House members are primarily beholden to organized labor, that is true only of 4 percent of the Senate.

Click on Congress’s Corporate Sponsors for details.

Click on BP’s Favorite Politicians for a list that may (or may not) be surprising.

The Mother Jones article is excellent reporting, but in a way it is old news.  It reports on contributions to individual politicians by identified sources, but in the current election, all this is being dwarfed by the secret spending by business and other organizations unleased by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United Decision.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has committed $75 million for advertising in the 2010 elections, and more millions are committed by organizations set up by Karl Rove and the right-wing billionaire Koch brothers.  Under the new decision, organizations don’t have to report their spending and there are no limits on spending so long as they do it themselves and don’t coordinate with candidates.

Click on The Billionaires Backing the Tea Party and The billionaire Koch brothers war against Obama for more about David and Charles Koch’s political operations.

In the game of politics, ordinary citizens have always played on a field tilted toward billionaires and corporate interests, but in the current election, that tilt has become almost vertical.

Click on Tell all the truth, but tell it slant for an Obsidian Wings report on the contradiction in campaign spending figures as reported by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. [Added 10/25/10]

Click on The spending we don’t know about for a Politico report on the difficulty of knowing just who is spending what. [Added 10/25/10]

Click on Who’s the biggest outside spender of them all? for the Washington Independent’s analysis of the difference between the New York Times and Wall Street Journal figures. [Added 10/25/10]

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