By Dr. Lynette Long
As Americans sat glued to their television sets watching the most hotly contested presidential primary in American history, pundits counted pledged delegates won in caucuses and primaries and discussed the highly prized superdelegates’ endorsements. Eventually it would be these superdelegates, Democratic officials, governors, and members of congress, who would determine the nominee, since neither contestant won enough pledged delegates in the 52 primary contests.
What the pundits forgot to tell the American public was that these superdelegates were doing some counting of their own. They weren’t counting how many of their constituents had voted for Senator Clinton or Senator Obama, but rather how much money was being put into their war chests by the Obama campaign and the Democratic hierarchy. This money, moved from one candidate to another via PAC’s, would determine their endorsements and ultimately the nomination.
Since 1987, Nancy Pelosi has represented California’s eighth district– including most of San Francisco. An Italian American, Pelosi was raised on politics. Her father was a Congressman from Maryland and the Mayor of Baltimore. Pelosi was elected as Democratic Speaker of the House 2002. Pelosi shattered the glass ceiling in the House of Representatives when she was elected the first female speaker in 2007. A shrewd politician, Madame Speaker exercises a lot of influence over the members of congress. She determines Committee assignments and in conjunction with the DNC and Howard Dean decides how much money and support the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee gives to each member of congress in their bid for re-election.
In addition, Pelosi also contributes money directly to the congressional campaigns of certain candidates through her Political Action Committee “PAC to the FUTURE.” Her PAC receives money from other PAC’s such as Service Employees International Union $10,000, American Bankers Assn $10,000, Sheet Metal Workers Union $10,000, International Association of Fire Fighters, $10,000, and Goldman Sachs 10,000. It also receives money from individuals.
In the 2008 election cycle, the Center for Responsive Politics (www.opensecrets.org) reports that Nancy Pelosi’s PAC received 585,400 and contributed more than $445,000 of this to 59 congressional candidates. PAC to the FUTURE gave money to 38 incumbents and 21 challengers.
Of the 435 members in the house, Pelosi gave money to 8.5% of them. Of the members who received money from Pelosi, 71% were men; only 29% were women. Only eleven percent of the female members of congress received support from Pelosi’s PAC. It’s disappointing that a female speaker did not symbolically make some contribution to all Democratic women in the house.
But even more important than the gender implications of Pelosi’s behavior was her impact on the Presidential election.
Publicly Madame Speaker did not endorse either Obama or Clinton in the Democratic Primary, but was she was anything but neutral.
Pelosi gave money to the campaigns of thirty-eight members of congress, twenty-eight of these endorsed Obama; ten endorsed Clinton. Pelosi contributed to the campaigns of Obama endorsers almost three to one. Pelosi not only gave to a greater number of Obama supporters, she collectively gave them more money.
Pelosi gave $250,000 to the campaigns of superdelegates that endorsed Obama and only $80,000 to the campaigns of superdelegates that endorsed Clinton. Money talks, and Pelosi and her PAC spoke volumes….in shorthand. She may not have publicly endorsed a candidate, but the members of the House of Representatives knew she supported Obama.
Of the thirty-eight Members of Congress Pelosi gave money to, sixteen went against the grain for Obama. This means, their state voted for Hillary, their district voted for Hillary, yet they endorsed Obama. Why? Follow the money.
Is sixteen against the grain for Hillary and two against the grain for Obama a coincidence?
Pelosi’s contributions to the campaigns of state representatives followed a similar pattern. Sixty-three percent of the state representatives to whom Pelosi gave money, endorsed Obama in a state won by Clinton.
Ten thousand dollars, PAC to the FUTURE’s typical contribution, doesn’t seem like a lot of money but besides getting money from PAC TO THE FUTURE, most of these members got contributions from other PACs.
These contributions were most likely orchestrated by Pelosi and company since the overlap is too startling. Congressman James Clyburn from South Carolina has BRIDGE PAC. BRIDGE PAC gave money to all but two of these same members of congress. Steny Hoyer from Maryland has AMERIPAC. AMERIPAC gave money to almost every single one of these same members of congress. Typical donations from both of these PAC’S were $10,000.
And then there is the NATIONAL LEADERSHIP PAC and the NEW DEMOCRAT COALITION, and of course there is the HOPE FUND owned by Barack Obama. All of these PACs donated an average of $10,000 to most of their campaigns. These young representatives got a lot of pressure to endorse Obama no matter which way their district or state voted. The voices of their constituents were irrelevant.
It seems Obama was just posing as a Washington outsider. But in reality—all the real Washington insiders Pelosi, Dean, Kennedy, Clyburn, Hoyer, and Kerry were on his team all along. Pelosi’s Pac might be named PAC to the Future, but it took direct action to purposely undermine the first significant female candidate for the presidency in history. In so doing, she pushed women back decades.
ACTION: Call Pelosi’s office at 415-556-4862 and let her know how you feel. Let’s not just call her biased against women; let’s call her finished.
FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY, BEFORE IT DISAPPEARS.