As campaign finance continues to cause heated debate amongst party leaders, Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) is quickly becoming the poster child for corporate influence on Capitol Hill.
On Saturday, The New York Times detailed the strong ties between corporate lobbyists and Boehner. His inner circle includes representatives from some of the biggest companies in the country, like R.J. Reynolds, Miller Coors and Goldman Sachs.
They have raised huge pots of money for him, of course. For instance, at least $340,000 donated to Boehner’s political campaigns came from the pockets of people closely affiliated with the tobacco industry. Boehner’s relationship with the tobacco industry dates back to 1996, when he was caught handing out checks from large tobacco companies to fellow Republicans on the of the House of Representatives.
Notable also is Boehner’s travel record. Over the past decade, the representative has taken approximately 41 trips, mostly to resort golf destinations – all sponsored by various corporations and industry groups.
Fundraising for Mr. Boehner is especially important to watch as he begins his campaign to be Speaker of the House if Republicans attain the majority after November’s elections. His “Boehner for Speaker” campaign, launched in June this year, has already raised almost $2 million.
“While many lawmakers in each party have networks of donors, lobbyists and former aides who now represent corporate interests, Mr. Boehner’s ties seem especially deep,” the Times wrote. “His clique of friends and current and former staff members even has a nickname on Capitol Hill, Boehner Land. The members of this inner circle said their association with Mr. Boehner translates into open access to him and his staff.”
While the concept of ‘Boehner may be a running joke in the representative’s large inner-circle, the idea is a nightmare to anyone who fears more corporate involvement in Congress.