The effect of money on our politics has been an age old problem. I don’t have a problem with money in politics. I have a problem when money begins to distort the focus on the “public” part of public service. Money causing politicians to defer their constituent needs for those of their paymasters is also nothing new. It was a finely crafted art which relied on one thing to make it work. Obscurity. What the people don’t know, they can’t hold you accountable for.

This era ended with the Internet and the explosion of web enabled data tools that could mine publicly available data and make it meaningful. Maplight.org is doing some great work in this area. They have published data related to the health care debate which will “shed some light” on what may be influencing the votes of our electeds. Below are contributions to Ohio’s Congressional delegation from interests who did not want HR 3962 (Affordable Health Care for America Act) to pass and how they voted:

Austria R (OH-7) No $3,500
Boccieri D (OH-16) No $1,000
Boehner R (OH-8) No $70,125
Driehaus D (OH-1) Yes $1,000
Fudge D (OH-11) Yes $700
Jordan R (OH-4) No $5,500
Kaptur D (OH-9) Yes $1,000
Kilroy D (OH-15) Yes $1,500
Kucinich D (OH-10) No $2,500
LaTourette R (OH-14) No $14,000
Latta R (OH-5) No $2,000
Ryan D (OH-17) Yes $2,500
Schmidt R (OH-2) No $4,000
Space D (OH-18) Yes $11,250
Sutton D (OH-13) Yes $1,500
Tiberi R (OH-12) No $29,750
Turner R (OH-3) No $4,750
Wilson D (OH-6) Yes $8,000

What jumps out, of course, is the level to which both GOP Congressmen Boehner and Tiberi are vested in the paymasters.

Space also jumps out at you given that he is taking the money of those who wanted the bill to fail, yet he voted FOR it. Wilson did much the same to a lesser degree. This may speak to their districts and the tightrope that they have to walk between at-home constituencies and DC political pressures.

The thing about Boccieri’s vote, which we have and will continue to hammer, is you can’t claim it was bought. He got a token amount much like others who voted for the bill. It leaves you continuing to scratch your head at his calculus.

I think this kind of information is good to have as we continue to hold our Congressional delegation accountable for health care reform.

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