From The Hill
Many Democratic freshmen raised tens of thousands of special-interest dollars toward their reelection even before they were sworn in for the 110th Congress.
The numbers show that although they said during their campaigns that they would reform the “culture of corruption” in Washington, many quickly immersed themselves in the town’s lobbyist-dominated fundraising network to fill up their coffers and retire their debt.
Rep. David Loebsack (D-Iowa), who surprised former Rep. Jim Leach (R), has already raised $71,000.
About $60,000 of that came from political committees such as the American Bankers Association PAC, which gave him $5,000 on Dec. 18, and the National Association of Realtors PAC, which also wrote him a $5,000 check the same day.
Loebsack accepted the money from these rival groups, which are well-known members of Washington’s lobbying culture, despite his calls to reform that culture only a few months ago.
“The most recent Republican ethics scandal involving Jack Abramoff only underscores the need to reform our political system to ensure that elected officials maintain the people’s trust in their government,” Loebsack wrote on his campaign website. “So long as Washington continues with politics as usual, few of the changes we as a nation need to move us forward are likely to occur.”
Gabby Adler, Loebsack’s spokeswoman, said that her boss would not let the influx of contributions affect his focus on constituents.
“Since winning in November Congressman Loebsack has received an outpouring of support from a wide range of supportive individuals and organizations in Iowa,” she said. “The congressman appreciates this support and is currently focusing his attention on serving the people of Iowa’s 2nd congressional district because their interests are his No. 1 priority.”
Setting aside contributions from fellow Democrats’ campaign accounts, Loebsack accepted less than $40,000 in PAC contributions between Oct. 1 and Election Day. His receipt of such funds has increased by about 50 percent since he won.