Greenbacks for Green Votes

 

A report comparing PAC (political action committee) contributions made to congressional campaigns by the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and the recipient's support for the environmental movement, as measured by the LCV; published by The National Center for Public Policy Research

 

August 1, 1995 * By Bob Adams, Project Director, Environmental and Regulatory Affairs

 

Introduction: "Greenbacks for Green Votes"

"Greenbacks for Green Votes" is a side-by-side comparison of PAC (political action committee) contributions made to congressional campaigns by the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and the recipient's support for the environmental movement's agenda, as measured by the League's own "National Environmental Scorecard." This "Greenbacks" analysis of the House of Representatives for the first 100 days of the 104th Congress was compiled using Federal Election Commission reports and the League of Conservation Voters' "National Environmental Scorecard."

The "National Environmental Scorecard" analyzes what it considers to be the 10 most important votes taken during the first 100 days of the 104th Congress affecting the environment. The individual member's record is averaged into an "LCV Score," which is the percentage of votes in favor of the green agenda.

"Greenbacks for Green Votes" does not challenge the right of political action committees to support candidates for public office. However, the public has a right to know to whom PACs contribute, and how closely votes by recipients of these funds match the stated agenda of the contributor, in this case the LCV. Only then can citizens determine for themselves if congressional supporters of the regulatory agenda are motivated by conviction or are captive to special interests.

 

The League of Conservation Voters

The League of Conservation Voters, founded in 1970 by Friends of the Earth, is the largest of two environmental political action committees. Its former president, Bruce Babbitt, who is now Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, once described the LCV's mission in a League Scorecard of candidates as to "identify our enemies and drive them into oblivion." This special interest group, based in Washington, D.C., "identifies" and attempts to defeat its opposition through such publications as the "National Environmental Scorecard" and by giving congressional candidates who agree to their big government environmental agenda thousands of dollars in campaign money.

While the LCV considers itself to be non-partisan, according to FEC records they provided 95% of their $777,717 in PAC money to Democratic candidates in the 1994 election cycle. The League of Conservation Voters' top PAC award went to Democratic Congressman Sam Farr for $13,500, while the top Republican taker, Congressman Vernon Ehlers, walked away with only $6,000. Overall, 154 Democratic candidates received funds compared to only 10 Republicans.

The League of Conservation Voters' current President is James D. Maddy. Although most of his career has been spent employed by the government, he was also a campaign staff worker for former Arizona Governor Bruce Babbitt's failed presidential candidacy in 1988. Maddy, who has held his current position since 1987, earned his M.A. in economics from West Virginia University in 1974.

 

Significant Findings

Members of the House of Representatives receiving campaign contributions from the League of Conservation Voters' PAC, on average, voted for the LCV's agenda 82.6% of the time.

Thirty-one House members receiving contributions, or 52.5%, voted for the LCV position 100% of the time.

Forty House members receiving contributions, or 68%, voted for the LCV position 75% of the time or greater.

Fifty House members receiving contributions, or 85%, voted for the LCV positon more than 60% of the time.

Only eight House members receiving donations, or 14%, voted against the LCV position more often than they voted in favor of their position.

Only one LCV PAC donation recipient, Representative Bud Schuster (R-PA), voted against the LCV position 100% of the time.

 

The Targeted Green Votes

The vote rating is primarily concerned with four significant environmental and regulatory reform bills passed by The House of Representatives during the first 100 days of the 104th Congress. According to the LCV, a vote against these measures was a vote for the environmental agenda. The four votes include:

H.R. 5 -- The "unfunded mandates" bill, signed into law by President Clinton, which will reduce the economic costs forced on state and local governments by federal rule makers. The more money drained from municipalities to comply with federal environmental orders, the less state funding is available for such local expenses as police, schools, and fire departments.

H.R. 450 -- The Regulatory Transition Act, which would establish a moratorium on federal regulations through the end of 1995, was intended to apply the brakes to some five thousand new bureaucratic rules and roadblocks being created by the Clinton Administration. The moratorium provides a "catch your breath and take a look" advantage that would allow Congress to put into place oversight procedures to insure that rules benefit and protect Americans -- not load the American people down with unnecessary and expensive regulations.

H.R. 1022 -- The Risk Assessment and Cost Benefit Act would add a dose of reality and common sense for federal rule makers. It would require that true risk assessment and cost-benefit analyses be conducted before new regulations are imposed.

H.R. 925 -- The Private Property Protection Act of 1995 would protect the American quality of life by insuring that the federal government pays for what it "takes" when it excessively regulates or takes away the rights of an individual to use his own land. The measure is designed to force federal bureaucrats to establish sober regulatory priorities.

PAC Dollars Given, and the "LCV Score" (influence rating, % of votes favoring special interest's agenda):

Sam Farr  *   DEM  *  CA  *  $13,500 *  100%
Carolyn Maloney *  DEM   * NY  *  $10,450  *  91%
George Brown *   DEM  *  CA  *  $10,000  *  73%
William Luther   * DEM   * MN  *  $9,709  * 100%
Maurice Hinchey  *  DEM  *  NY  *  $9,690  *  100%
Lynn Rivers  *  DEM  *  MI  *  $9,676  * 100%
Frank Pallone, Jr.  *  DEM *  NJ  *  $8,836 * 100%
Elizabeth Furse  *  DEM * OR *  $7,379  * 100%
Dale Kildee *  DEM * MI * $7,000 * 100%
Louise Slaughter * DEM * NY * $6,569 * 100%
Karen McCarthy * DEM * MO * $6,500 * 73%
Sam Gejdenson * DEM * CT * $6,429 * 100%
Bob Filner * DEM * CA * $6,283 * 100%
Gary Ackerman * DEM * NY  * $6,000 * 100%
Vernon Ehlers  * REP * MI * $6,000 * 45%
Lloyd Doggett * DEM * TX * $5,941 * 100%
Bennie Thompson * DEM * MS * $5,500 * 100%
Sherwood Boehlert * REP  * NY * $5,354 * 91%
Paul Mchale *  DEM * PA * $5,074 * 64%
Sherrod Brown * DEM * OH * $5,000 * 73%
John Bryant *  DEM * TX * $5,000 * 73%
Pat Williams * DEM * MT * $5,000 * 80%
John Porter *  REP *  IL * $4,879 * 64%
Patrick Kennedy * DEM * RI * $4,000 * 91%
David Minge * DEM * MN *  $3,831 * 55%
Zoe Lofgren *  DEM * CA * $3,500 * 100%
Barton Gordon * DEM * TN * $3,000 * 27%
Jane Harman * DEM * CA * $3,000  * 45%
Jan Meyers * REP * KS * $3,000 * 36%
Jerrold Nadler * DEM * NY * $3,000 * 100%
Bernard Sanders * IND * VT  * $3,000 * 100%
Bud Shuster * REP *  PA *  $3,000 * .0%
Mike Ward * DEM * KY * $3,000 *  64%
Gerry Studds * DEM * MA *  $2,920  * 100%
David Skaggs  * DEM * CO * $2,704 * 100%
Ronald Coleman * DEM * TX * $2,500 * 91%
Scott Klug * REP * WI * $2,500 * 45%
Jim Moran * DEM * VA * $2,500 * 64%
Sander Levin * DEM * MI * $6,000 * 100%
Bart Stupak *  DEM * MI * $2,000 * 45%
Corrine Brown * DEM * FL * $1,500 * 91%
Peter Deutsch  * DEM * FL * $1,500 * 82%
John Olver * DEM * MA * $1,500 *  100%
David Bonior * DEM * MI *  $1,000  * 100%
John Conyers  * DEM * MI * $1,000 * 100%
Anna Eshoo *  DEM * CA * $1,000 * 100%
Lane Evans *  DEM * IL * $1,000 * 100%
George Miller  * DEM * CA * $1,000 * 64%
Norman Mineta * DEM * CA * $1,000 * 100%
Nick Rahall *  DEM * WV * 1,000 * 100%
Melvin Watt *  DEM * NC * $633 * 100%
Eva Clayton  * DEM * NC  * $500 * 100%
Alcee Hastings  * DEM * FL * $500 * 100%
Joseph Kennedy * DEM * MA * $500 * 91%
David Obey * DEM  * WI * $500 * 64%
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen *  REP * FL* $500 * 9%
Louis Stokes * DEM * OH * $500 * 100%
Rosa DeLauro  * DEM * CT * $350 * 100%
Cynthia McKinney * DEM * GA * $350 * 82%

 

 

Acknowledgments

"Greenbacks for Green Votes" sources include "Trashing the Economy," by Ron Arnold and Alan Gottlieb of The Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise; "Regulation Watch," U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee, January 6, 1995; "100-Day Scorecard," the League of Conservation Voters, April 1995; and Federal Election Commision records.

The Environmental Policy Task Force is a project of The National Center for Public Policy Research. The task force was established to find and promote innovative, workable solutions to environmental problems -- solutions that minimize the suffering of working Americans while still protecting the environment.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a non-partisan, non-profit, Washington, D.C. public policy institute. Since it was founded in 1982, The National Center has conducted extensive domestic and public policy programs, including the publication of "National Policy Analysis," research and analysis papers, succinct and timely "Talking Points on the Economy" cards, and the regulatory reform fax newsletter "The Relief Report," among many other educational programs.

All correspondence relating to "Greenbacks for Green Votes" should be directed to: Bob Adams. © Copyright 1995 The National Center for Public Policy Research. Excerpts may be reprinted provided original source is credited.




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