Funds for Favors II: Exposing Donors’ Influence on Committee Leaders

House Committee Ledership receives donations from industry Campaign contributions follow power, and special interests aren’t subtle about currying favor with the powerful.

New research by CREW shows after control of the House flipped in 2010 Democratic committee chairmen demoted to ranking members saw campaign contributions plummet from industries their committees oversee. Conversely, Republican ranking members who assumed House committee chairmanships in the wake of the shift saw a corresponding increase in contributions.

CREW’s analysis also found 80% of the chairs and ranking members included in our study reported receiving a growing share of their campaign contributions from industries overseen by their committees. This trend raises questions about whether committee leaders are overly dependent on the campaign contributions of those over which they have regulatory authority.

In 2011, CREW released its first Funds for Favors report, which analyzed campaign contributions to the chairmen and ranking members of ten House committees. Our analysis, which included data from the 1998 through the 2010 election cycles, revealed that as members’ power and seniority increased, the industries they were responsible for regulating steered more and more money into their campaign coffers. This new edition of the report compares campaign finance data from the 2010 election cycle to the 2012 election cycle, and shows industries are continuing to shower campaign cash on lawmakers who oversee them. Both editions of the report rely on federal campaign contribution data provided by MapLight.

During the 2012 election cycle, the industries examined by CREW donated almost $8.3 million to the chairmen and ranking members of committees responsible for overseeing them, compared to almost $6.7 million to the same members during the 2010 election cycle. In all, contributions from relevant industries to committee leaders increased by 24% between 2010 and 2012, far more than the 10% growth in those lawmakers’ total contributions.

Read the press release    |    Read the full report




Ranking Member

Rep. Frank Lucas


Collin Peterson

Rep. Collin Peterson


Rep. Buck McKeon


Armed Services

Adam Smith

Rep. Adam Smith



Rep. John Kline


and the Workplace


Rep. George Miller



Rep. Fred Upton


and Commerce


Rep. Henry Waxman


Rep. Jeb Hensarling

Financial Services

Rep. Maxine Waters

Rep. Michael McCaul

Rep. Michael McCaul

Homeland Security


Rep. Bennie G. Thompson


Rep. Robert Goodlatte

Rep. Robert Goodlatte



Rep. John Conyers



Rep. Doc Hastings


Natural Resources


Rep. Edward Markey


Rep. Lamar Smith

Rep. Lamar Smith

Science, Space and Technology

Eddie Bernice Johnson

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson


Rep. Bill Shuster

Transportation and Infrastructure


Rep. Nick J. Rahall, II


[ Please review our commenting policy here. ]  [ Comments powered by Disqus ]
© 2015 Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, all rights reserved.
• 455 Massachusetts Avenue NW • Sixth Floor • Washington, DC 20001 • 202-408-5565 •

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington®, and the
“CREW | Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington” wordmark are registered trademarks.