In an earlier article I asked if “Rep. Reed Really Represents Us” by highlighting a sample of his votes on Family, Veterans, Economics, and the Safety Net issues.
When trying to figure out if elected officials really represent their constituents, the “Citizens United v FEC” Supreme Court decision may have place more importances on the funding of a political campaign than how the representatives actually vote. Campaign donations are reported to the Federal Election Commission quarterly. This quarter ends tonight, Monday, March 31 at midnight. It will take a few weeks for the reports to be created, and handed to the FEC. It will then take a couple of days for those reports to be on the their website.
Those receiving the donations like to down play how much they influence their votes. During his Town Hall Meeting in Drydan, New York, on February 2, 2013, Rep. Reed tried to brush off a constituent’s question about campaign donations. They were talking about hydrofracking when Reed was asked, “Where did your $126,000 from gas companies come from? Which lobbyists? Which companies besides Chesapeake and the other lobbyists? Rep. Reed’s response: “No idea. No idea. We don’t keep track of that. I don’t keep track of that.” He then went on to a different issue. The fact that he legally has to keep track of “that” on the quarterly reports.
Don’t worry—The Center for Responsive Politics does keep track of “that”, and other campaign data. If you have some extra time you may want to explore their “Open Secrets” website. There is a lot of information there. For example you can review which industries have contributed to his present campaign, and how much they gave. The Top 5 Industrial Contributors to Rep. Reed’s Campaign have been : “(Republican) Leadership PACs ($101,000), Insurance Industry ($87,250), Security & Investment Industry ($73,875), Oil & Gas Industry ($72, 920) and the Beer, Wine & Liquor Industry ($65,571). It lists 15 more industries, ending with General Contractors ($19,750). You an also see the data for each of his other two campaigns, and his career totals.
To be fair, you would be able to see Martha Robertson campaign data. Her top ‘Industrial donors were: “Retire ($76,490), Education ($56,500), (Democratic) Leadership PACs ($24,516), Lawyers/Law Firm ($22,250) and Women’s Issues ($20,800). She also has 15 more industries listed, ending with the Transportation Unions ($2,250).
Open Secrets also follows where the money comes from geographically—where it was from inside the NY 23rd congressional district, or out side, from within NYS or outside of NYS, and even by zip codes.
Rep. Reed, as of December 31, 2013, has received 61% of his funding from inside New York State, where Martha Robertson has received 94% of her funding from New Yorkers. Rep. Reed has received only 27% of his contributions from inside the NY 23rd Congressional District, Martha Robertson has received 79% of her funding from our district.
You can draw your own conclusions. I need to point out that the campaign fund raising is going full blast for both campaigns, and these figures will change. The first quarter contributions will end tonight (March 31, 2014), and, as noted above, the reports will not be publicized until mid-April.
The next article in this series will detail how the Oil/Gas Industries have affected Rep. Reed’s campaign.