Who Funds the Debt Committee Members?

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) — We may call them the supercommittee, or the gang of 12, or simply America’s last great hope, but dozens of companies likely refer to the 12 members of the newly created congressional debt committee as long-term investments.

Hundreds of businesses and political action committees contributed a total of $64.5 million to the 12 members of the committee between 2001 and 2010, according an analysis of campaign contribution data by the non-partisan organization MapLight.org, raising concerns about the impact these donations may have on how the panel chooses funding cuts.

Educational organizations contributed $8.5 million to the candidates during the previous decade, MapLight found, while health professionals contributed $9.3 million during that time, forcing one to wonder if cuts to these areas of government will be skewed toward the interests of the organizations that have lobbied the panel’s members. Likewise, independent companies including Lockheed Martin and Boeing have each contributed more than $100,000 to the 12 politicians, a potential complicating factor in their decision on whether or not to approve cuts to military spending.

Nearly half of the 10 largest contributors were in the financial sector, with Goldman Sachs and Citigroup (Stock Quote: C) each contributing more than half a million dollars to the legislators, and JPMorgan Chase (Stock Quote: JPM) and Bank of America (Stock Quote: BAC) not too far behind.

Lobbying politicians is certainly nothing new in Washington, but it could prove to be more of an issue given the task that lies ahead for this committee.

The debt supercommittee was formed as part of a broader deal to raise the debt ceiling. After months of debate, Congress and the Obama administration agreed to a first stage of government spending cuts totaling more than $900 billion and appointed a special committee made up of 12 members in both houses of Congress, evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, to decide on an even larger second round of cuts totaling $1.5 trillion.

The committee needs to be able to put all government spending on the table, regardless of the projects that align with their special interests, and determine which cuts are the most pragmatic and efficient.

To find out more about the 12 legislators who may decide the country’s fiscal future, check out MainStreet’s profile of all the members of the supercommittee and their relevant voting records.

—For a comprehensive credit report, visit the BankingMyWay.com Credit Center.

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