WASHINGTON BUREAU — The insurance industry ranks just 10th on a list of top industry contributors to members of the new “super committee” – the congressional panel that is supposed to find $1.5 trillion in federal spending cuts by Thanksgiving.
Lawyers and law firms gave the 12 super committee members about $32 million, and securities and investment firms gave $11 million. Insurance contributors contributed $5.7 million. In terms of super committee member contributions, insurance contributors lagged behind health professional, real estate and business issues contributors.
On another list, of giving by individual companies and political action committees (PACs), by far the largest campaign contributor was the Club for Growth, Washington. That group’s objective is to limit taxation, especially for the wealthy. It contributed $990,066.
MapLight, Berkeley, Calif., a campaign contribution tracking group, created the lists using contribution data from the Center for Responsive Politics, Washington, which is also known as OpenSecrets.org. The center’s insurance category includes contributions from donors identified as insurance agents, insurance brokers, or life, health or property-casualty insurers.
MapLight added up the campaign contributions made to the 12 super committee members from Jan. 1, 2001, to Dec. 31, 2010.
The law that established the super committee — the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction — called for Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and the Senate to each pick three super committee members.
The members are:
- Senate Democrats: Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee; Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.; and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.
- Senate Republicans: Sen. John Kyl, R-Ariz.; Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio; and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.
- House Republicans: Rep. David Camp, R-Mich., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee; Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee; and Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas.
- House Democrats: Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.; Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif.; and Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C.
One committee member, Toomey, a longtime member of the Club for Growth, received $837,641 from the Club for Growth in campaign contributions from 2001 to 2010. He also received about $1.1 million in contributions from Republican/conservative groups over that period.
Murray received $836,177 from contributors in OpenSecrets.org’s lawyers and law firms industry category over that period. Her largest contributor in the companies/PAC category was Emily’s List, Washington. Emily’s List, a PAC that supports electing Democratic women, gave her $202,856.
MapLight found that Baucus has received more insurance industry contributions over the past 10 years than any other super committee member. The industry has given him $676,925.
Camp, the top House insurance contribution getter, received $233,222.
Hensarling, the second highest insurance contribution recipient in the House, took in $146,000. Hensarling is part of the Republican leadership of the House Financial Services Committee and a former aide to Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, who headed the Senate Banking Committee in the late 1990s.
Van Hollen, who is active in the Democratic House leadership, has received $98,200 from the insurance industry over the past 10 years. Becerra, received $89,250, and Clyburn, a member of the House Democratic leadership, received $88,500.
Other federal budget coverage from National Underwriter Life & Health:
- Budget Battle: A Super Committee is Born
- U.S. Rating Downgrade: Analysts Shrug
- Obama Administration: Super Committee Can Raise Taxes, Cut Entitlements
- Budget Bill Excludes “Tax Expenditure” Provisions
- Moody’s Places U.S. Aaa Government Bond Rating and Related Ratings on Review for Possible Downgrade