On May 22, the U.S. Senate voted in favor of fast-tracking President Barack Obama's Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which has put the president at odds with top ranking members of his own party, but also finding rare approval from Senate Republicans.
Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, have publicly fought with the president over the deal, which the senators believe will only benefit large and wealthy corporations and not create the jobs the White House is promising.
Now, critics of the legislation will have another fact to use in their case, with financial disclosures of corporations contributing to senators and their future political campaigns having been released.
According to the Federal Election Commission, $1,148,971 was donated to select members of the U.S. Senate between January and March 2015. Most of the donations went to Republican senators, with the average Republican member receiving $19,673.28 from donations given by the U.S. Business Coalition for TPP. The average Democrat received $9,689.23 from the same group, The Guardian reported.
Before the vote, five Democratic senators publicly stated their uncertainty on how they would vote on the bill; after this was revealed, thousands of dollars in donations went to their campaigns. The Senators — Ron Wyden of Oregon, Dianne Feinstein of California, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Patty Murray of Washington and Bill Nelson of Florida — would all vote to “fast-track” the legislation, giving the Obama administration full authority to carry out the measure, without congressional approval in the future.
Mansur Gidfar, a spokesman for the anti-corruption group Represent.us, believes money has become quite powerful in the political world.
“It’s a rare thing for members of Congress to go against money these days. 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,” he said.
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