Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan may be one of the House of Representative’s top fundraisers – and that’s at least partially thanks to his powerful position as chairman of the House Budget Committee, where he has the power to influence laws on banking and health care.
Today, the Huffington Post reports that while he criticized earmarks and wasteful federal spending (including in President Obama’s stimulus bill), he also engaged in securing earmarks and lobbying for stimulus cash:
Ryan has pushed for earmarks around the same time he started complaining about the practice. He also lobbied for stimulus money while objecting to President Obama’s spending bill. And in at least two instances involving the Department of Transportation, Ryan has pushed the interests of companies whose members have given him campaign donations, according to records obtained by The Huffington Post.
Steering transportation funds, or weighing in on regulations, is one of the most direct ways a congressman can exert influence. Ryan is certainly not the only politician to attempt to influence the DOT over its decision making. But the fact that Ryan was willing to go to bat on behalf of campaign donors drives against the narrative Ryan has long claimed — that he is a special kind of politician, more saint than sinner.
The Huffington Post has more details on Ryan’s lobbying, which his spokesman insists is no different than what other members of Congress do on a regular basis.
Meanwhile, the race for campaign cash has heated up. NPR reports that both sides can claim some advantage in the fight to dominate television ad buys:
The Obama campaign committee, Obama for America, reported raising about $39 million, almost $11 million more than was raised in July by the Romney campaign committee, Romney For President.
But when you add in the rest of each candidate’s organization — the national party and joint fundraising committees — Romney easily outran Obama and once again increased his advantage in cash on hand.
“Romney has a 3-to-2 advantage in cash, today,” says Michael Malbin, director of the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute. But “if you just look at the candidate committee by itself, Obama has a 3-to-1 advantage.”
The picture is even more complicated when you add in spending by outside groups, including super PACs and 501(c)(4)s. One thing that is true: there’s a lot being spent to influence your vote this year.