Sen. Mitch McConnell's 2.1 million reasons to vote against a minimum wage increase

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Even though one in four Kentuckians would benefit from a minimum wage increase and Kentuckians support raising the minimum wage by a 2 to 1 margin, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his caucus filibustered a Democratic effort to move such an increase through the chamber.

For McConnell, here are a few possible reasons why*:

  • Executives and PACs representing big companies opposed to the minimum wage have contributed or spent at least $2.1 million to help McConnell stay in power. This total represents both outside spending and campaign contributions.These opponents include the National Restaurant Association, McDonalds, and other entities from the fast food, chain restaurant, retail, and hospitality industries.
  • Most recently, in the first quarter of 2014, McConnell took at least $45,000 from these interests opposed to a minimum wage increase.
  • That total includes $17,850 from 12 executives of CKE Restaurants, the owner of Carl's Jr and Hardee's. The executive donations included $5,000 from Mike Murphy, President and Chief Legal Officer, and $2,600 from Ted Abajian, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. These checks were most likely collected during a fundraiser for one of McConnell's joint fundraising committees, held in Southern California on March 19, not far from CKE headquarters in Carpinteria, CA. CKE's CEO, Andrew Puzder, has spoken out against raising the minimum wage.
  • So far in the 2014 cycle, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has called the push for a higher minimum wage a "distraction" and pledged to spend "whatever necessary" to ensure McConnell returns in 2015, has spent $512,650 running ads to help McConnell win.

In 2002, during the deposition for his challenge to McCain-Feingold, Sen. McConnell was asked repeatedly to name some of the big donors to his campaign. Did he know any school teachers or waitresses who donated $1,000? What about corporate executives? And, specifically, "Do you know anyone who holds a minimum wage job who's given you $1,000 or more?"

His answer to these questions? "Some of them are corporate executives; some of them are other things."

 

*Public Campaign Action Fund analyzed data from the Center for Responsive Politics and Sen. McConnell's filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).