Here’s how much corporations paid US senators to fast-track the TPP bill
Fast-tracking the TPP, meaning its passage through Congress without having its contents available for debate or amendments, was only possible after lots of corporate money exchanged hands with senators. The US Senate passed Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) – the fast-tracking bill – by a 65-33 margin on 14 May. Last Thursday, the Senate voted 62-38 to bring the debate on TPA to a close.
Those impressive majorities follow months of behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing by the world’s most well-heeled multinational corporations with just a handful of holdouts.
Using data from the Federal Election Commission, this chart shows all donations that corporate members of the US Business Coalition for TPP made to US Senate campaigns between January and March 2015, when fast-tracking the TPP was being debated in the Senate:
Out of the total $1,148,971 given, an average of $17,676.48 was donated to each of the 65 “yea” votes.
The average Republican member received $19,673.28 from corporate TPP supporters.
The average Democrat received $9,689.23 from those same donors.
The amounts given rise dramatically when looking at how much each senator running for re-election received…
Democrats Ron Wyden… Michael Bennet… Dianne Feinstein… Claire McCaskill… Patty Murray… Bill Nelson…
Almost 100% of the Republicans in the US Senate voted for fast-track – the only two non-votes on TPA were a Republican from Louisiana and a Republican from Alaska.
Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, who is the former US trade representative, has been one of the loudest proponents of the TPP. (In a comment to the Guardian, Portman’s office said: “Senator Portman is not a vocal proponent of TPP – he has said it’s still being negotiated and if and when an agreement is reached he will review it carefully.”)
He received $119,700 from 14 different corporations between January and March, most of which comes from donations from Goldman Sachs ($70,600), Pfizer ($15,700), and Procter & Gamble ($12,900). Portman is expected to run against former Ohio governor Ted Strickland in 2016 in one of the most politically competitive states in the country.
Seven Republicans who voted “yea” to fast-track and are also running for re-election next year cleaned up between January and March.
Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia received $102,500 in corporate contributions.
Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, best known for proposing a Monsanto-written bill in 2013 that became known as the Monsanto Protection Act, received $77,900 – $13,500 of which came from Monsanto.
Arizona senator and former presidential candidate John McCain received $51,700 in the first quarter of 2015.
Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina received $60,000 in corporate donations.
Eighty-one-year-old senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who is running for his seventh Senate term, received $35,000.
Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, who will be running for his first full six-year term in 2016, received $67,500 from pro-TPP corporations.
“It’s a rare thing for members of Congress to go against the money these days,” said Mansur Gidfar, spokesman for the anti-corruption group Represent.Us.
“They know exactly which special interests they need to keep happy if they want to fund their reelection campaigns or secure a future job as a lobbyist.”