A joint analysis by iWatch News and the Center for Responsive Politics has found that the 15 freshmen members of the Tea Party Caucus have embraced many of the same special interests that have supported Republicans for years.
The fifteen combined have received over $3,450,000 during the first three quarters of this year from almost 700 different PACs. It’s an impressive haul for a group of newly elected House members. But it shouldn’t be surprising that these fresh faces found new friends in Washington.
“Business as usual,” says Mary Boyle of good-government group Common Cause. “The lobbyists and other traditional Washington powers know that the newbies will learn fast that they need them, and their rolodexes.”
It may well be, but some of the freshmen appear to have their eyes wide open.
Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., has received more than $252,000 from PACs, accounting for about two-thirds of the money he has raised this year. His chief of staff, Fred Piccolo, was unapologetic for the donations the congressman has received. “One person's ‘special interest’ is another person's ‘personal interest,’” he said.
Among the biggest PAC donors to the tea party freshmen are familiar Washington faces, including Honeywell International, which led the way both in number of donations and overall money given. The top five corporate PACs that donated to these freshmen: