Greenbacks For Green Votes 2

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

May 1, 1996 * By Bob Adams, Project Director, Environmental and Regulatory Affairs

Introduction: Greenbacks for Green Votes 2

Greenbacks for Green Votes 2 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 session 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 twelve most important votes taken during the first session 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 2 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 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. A 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, 155 Democratic candidates received funds compared to only nine Republicans.

The League of Conservation Voters' current President, Debra Callahan, says the LCV is "gratified that President Clinton and environmental champions in both parties found their voice as the year went on.... Particularly hopeful is the emergence of a small but growing band of Republican supporters led by Representative Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) [a recipient of $5,354]."

Significant Findings

 

The Targeted Green Votes


The vote rating is an average of twelve significant environmental and regulatory reform bills passed by the House of Representatives during the first session of the 104th Congress. The re-authorization of the Clean Water Act, H.R. 961, is scored twice because the League "considers this legislation so environmentally harmful." According to the LCV, a vote against these measures was a vote for the environmental agenda. Highlights of the twelve votes include:

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 $10,450 100%
George Brown DEM CA $10,000 85%
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 92%
Louise Slaughter DEM NY $6,569 100%
Karen McCarthy DEM MO $6,500 92%
Sam Gejdenson DEM CT $6,429 92%
Bob Filner DEM CA $6,283 100%
Gary Ackerman DEM NY $6,000 92%
Vernon Ehlers REP MI $6,000 62%
Lloyd Doggett DEM TX $5,941 100%
Bennie Thompson DEM MS $5,500 100%
Sherwood Boehlert REP NY $5,354 92%
Paul McHale DEM PA $5,074 85%
Sherrod Brown DEM OH $5,000 85%
John Bryant DEM TX $5,000 85%
Pat Williams DEM MT $5,000 85%
John Porter REP IL $4,879 77%
Patrick Kennedy DEM RI $4,000 100%
David Minge DEM MN $3,831 62%
Zoe Lofgren DEM CA $3,500 92%
Barton Gordon DEM TN $3,000 54%
Jane Harman DEM CA $3,000 85%
Jan Meyers REP KS $3,000 62%
Jerrold Nadler DEM NY $3,000 100%
Bernard Sanders IND VT $3,000 100%
Mike Ward DEM KY $3,000 85%
Gerry Studds DEM MA $2,920 100%
David Skaggs DEM CO $2,704 100%
Ronald Coleman DEM TX $2,500 100%
Scott Klug REP WI $2,500 62%
Jim Moran DEM VA $2,500 77%
Sander Levin DEM MI $6,000 100%
Bart Stupak DEM MI $2,000 46%
Corrine Brown DEM FL $1,500 85%
Peter Deutsch DEM FL $1,500 100%
John Olver DEM MA $1,500 100%
David Bonior DEM MI $1,000 85%
John Conyers DEM MI $1,000 92%
Anna Eshoo DEM CA $1,000 100%
Lane Evans DEM IL $1,000 100%
George Miller DEM CA $1,000 85%
Norman Mineta DEM CA $1,000 91%
Nick Rahall Dem WV $1,000 85%
Melvin Watt DEM NC $633 100%
Eva Clayton DEM NC $500 100%
Alcee Hastings DEM FL $500 100%
Joseph Kennedy DEM MA $500 100%
David Obey DEM WI $500 69%
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen REP FL $500 38%
Louis Stokes DEM OH $500 85%
Rosa DeLauro DEM CT $350 100%
Cynthia McKinney DEM GA $350 92%


Acknowledgments

Greenbacks for Green Votes 2 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; The Scorecard, the League of Conservation Voters, February 1996; Federal Election Commission records; "Using the Appropriations Process to curb EPA's Regulatory Excesses," Heritage Foundation Issue Bulletin No. 213, September 13, 1995; the Congressional Record, June 28, 1995; and the Relief Report, The National Center for Public Policy Research.

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 2 should be directed to: The Environmental Policy Task Force, The National Center for Public Policy Research, E-mail [email protected]. (C) Copyright 1996 The National Center for Public Policy Research. Excerpts may be reprinted provided original source is credited. ###

 




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