Boehner? Pelosi? In Congress, Lobbyist Cash Flows to the Powerful

Jay Costa | September 14, 2010

Sep. 14, 2010 - According to an article published by on Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) has raised “nearly twice as much” as House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) in cash from “lobbyists” during the current election cycle. The report comes in response to an article published in Sunday’s New York Times, which alleged that Boehner is “tightly bound to lobbyists.”

Analyzing contributions from individuals and organizations tied to lobbying firms using’s Contributions tool, we found that the money flows to the position of speaker of the House regardless of who in particular is holding the gavel. Currently Pelosi out earns Boehner in the 2010 election cycle ($70,350 vs. $32,500), in contributions tied to lobbyists and lobbying firms. However, during the 2006 election cycle, when Republicans held a majority in the House, then-Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill) was the recipient of 74 percent more than Pelosi in lobbyist money ($53,100 vs. $30,450), and Boehner received 159 percent more than Pelosi from lobbyists during that election cycle ($78,950 vs. $30,450). Pelosi was the House minority leader at the time, the same position currently held by Boehner.

Lobbyists aren't the only ones throwing cash around, though. In fact, the amount of direct contributions that both Boehner and Pelosi have received from lobbyists during this election cycle is a tiny fraction of the overall contributions each of the lawmakers has taken in during the same period of time: a mere 1 percent of the total received by Boehner and 4 percent of the total received by Pelosi. In this election cycle, Boehner – who has his sights set on the position of Speaker if Republicans win a majority in the House this November – has been the recipient of $2,303,291in overall campaign contributions, 33 percent more than Pelosi, who has received $1,729,550$1,412,970 of Boehner's total contributions have come from PACs, 31 percent more than the $1,081,100 with which PACs have lavished Pelosi.

Come November, regardless of whether Pelosi and the Democrats are able to defend their majority or a Boehner-led Republican majority seizes power, there’s one thing we can safely bet on: both sides of the aisle will still be raking in campaign money, and lobbyists will likely be paying the deepest homage to whomever they believe holds the cards.

All contributions are provided by the Center for Responsive Politics ( Above totals are all contributions, $200 or greater, from individuals and PACs tied to specific interest groups. Totals do not include contributions from the PACs of political parties or politicians. Categorization of contributions from lobbying interest groups includes individuals employed by lobbying firms that are not necessarily registered lobbyists, as determined by the Center for Responsice Politics.