The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or "supercommittee," will meet today for the first time, beginning a three month process to reign in the nation's deficit. Considering the flurry of fundraisers some members of the committee are lining up, they better make the most of their time.
And last night, supercommitee member, Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), attended a lobbyist fundraiser in Washington, D.C. that listed Pfizer PAC as one of the hosts. With the potential of Medicare, and other health care related programs seeing some cuts, it seems they might have a little skin in the game. This could be just the beginning.
With the news that supercommittee are lining up fundraisers, Public Campaign Action Fund's David Donnelly had this to say:
“I think they should stop fundraising altogether right now.” The type of work and the scope of it speaks out for a different way of doing things. This should not be business as usual.”
On August 4, Public Campaign, along with two-dozen other public interest groups, called on supercommittee members to cease all fundraising for the duration of their work, and to be fully transparent about any meetings with lobbyists, CEO's, and big money donors. Some are beginning to heed the call.
Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has canceled one fundraiser so far, and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) has reportedly canceled a number of such events. This is a good first step and other members should follow suit. The work the supercommittee does should reflect what is best for ordinary Americans, not what's best for big money corporate and special interests, who have access and can write big campaign checks.
The only way they can do that is by taking a few months off from fundraising and being fully transparent. As anyone can see from this report from Public Campaign, they clearly don't need the money. The make-up of the deficit reduction measures the supercommittee will seak remains to be seen, but the big money donors and special interests are primed to exert their influence. It's up to the committee members to do the right thing.