White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs spent much of his day yesterday tripping over his shorts about a NY Times hit piece on John Boehner.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs took such a liking to this weekend’s NY Times story on House Minority Leader John Boehner and his lobbyist friends that Gibbs has posted about it on Twitter four times, beginning with one saying, “Headline says it all…A G.O.P. Leader Tightly Bound to Lobbyists.”
Maybe Mr. Gibbs should think twice before he makes that argument. He should at least look at how his party fares in a discussion of lobbyist influence.
If you look at the top Members of Congress who receive the most money from lobbyists this campaign season, 15 out of the 20 are Democrats. None of the 20 were named John Boehner.
If you concentrate on the House of Representatives where John Boehner serves the story is just as bad for Gibbs and the progressive Democrats. There are 60 Members of the House who accept more lobby money than Bohner, 45 of them (75%) are members of the President’s party. Boehner’s $39.5 thousand in lobbyist donations (the red bar) pale on comparison to that of the Democratic house leadership.
Not included in any of this are the labor unions such as the SEIU and the AFL/CIO who have influenced Obama’s policy in a big way. Here again it the President’s party beholden to special interests. When you look at all members of Congress who receive union money, 20 out of the top 20 are Democrats.
In the case of Unions, if you examine only the Members of the House of Representatives, the story is a bit different than the lobbyist data. Forgetting John Boehner for a second, you have to go through 147 Democrats just to get to the first Republican, Congressman McCotter (MI). If Press Secretary Gibbs wanted to find Congressman Boehner he would have to skim past 242 Democrats and 13 Republicans, all of whom get more union cash than Boehner at number 256.
In fact when you look at total campaign contributions to members of Congress $40.3 million of the total $43.2 million union dollars given to candidates (93%) was given to Democrats. Now I wouldn’t dare suggest that all those campaign contributions led to the passage of union favored programs such as the Stimulus, or Obamacare. Nor would I suggest the fact that President Obama received 94% of the $570 thousand spent by labor unions in the presidential campaign caused him to issue the executive order known as the “High Road Contracting Policy.” This order gives preferential treatment to government construction contractors that pay their hourly workers a “union wage” and provide additional benefits such as health insurance, employer-funded retirement plans and paid sick leave. In other words, they will be “cutting out” the non-union shops out of the $500 billion dollars worth of Federal construction jobs and raising the cost of construction jobs between 10-20%, increasing the federal deficit.
Robert Gibbs is just trying to scare away conservative Democrats and independents from voting for GOP candidates by casting the House minority leader, John Boehner as the essence of evil who should never become Speaker of the House. If the President, and his team of progressives really want to go in that direction, they should understand that it is an argument that hurts them more than it hurts their opponents. And Robert Gibbs should understand that Press Secretaries work in lobbyist houses should not throw stones.