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Help Me Solve the Tim Rupli Campaign Contribution Mystery

Tim Rupli, the lobbyist for credit card companies, payday loan operations and online high-interest lenders, has been doling out the cash, but to what end?

Through House of Representatives lobbying disclosure forms, which are a bit speedier than the FEC in reporting, Tim Rupli‘s campaign contributions to members of Congress for the 2nd half of 2009 are now available. Added in with information about Rupli’s contributions for the 1st half of 2009, these are the financial contributions Rupli’s made through the year to Senators and Representatives:

2/21/2009 Jeff Sessions
2/25/2009 Jim Gerlach
2/25/2009 Thad McCotter
2/26/2009 Tim Murphy
3/2/2009 Geoff Davis
3/4/2009 Sam Graves
3/4/2009 Tom Rooney
3/5/2009 Frank Kratovil
3/5/2009 Gregory Meeks
3/17/2009 Edolphus Towns
3/25/2009 David Scott
3/31/2009 Harry Reid
06/18/09 Jim Jordan
6/26/2009 Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick
7/15/2009 Carolyn Maloney
7/16/2009 Adrian Smith
7/30/2009 Gregory Meeks
8/12/2009 Jim DeMint
9/17/2009 Kevin McCarthy
9/22/2009 Lynn Jenkins
9/29/2009 Richard Shelby
9/30/2009 John Thune
10/14/2009 Mike Ross
10/15/2009 Patrick McHenry
10/21/2009 Donald Manzullo
10/29/2009 Brad Ellsworth
11/3/2009 David Scott
11/17/2009 Scott Garrett
11/18/2009 Robert Menendez
11/30/2009 John Thune
12/31/2009 Dennis Cardoza

These are all incumbents: Rupli doesn’t mess around with challengers. And lest you think that this is a small, meaningless number of contributions, keep in mind that it’s the tip of the iceberg. Tim Rupli has bought an entire condominium just off Capitol Hill for the purpose of throwing fundraising parties for members of Congress, and has been paid hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars annually for various lobbying expenses on the Hill. These direct financial contributions are simply the most easily tracked and provide an idea of the pattern of Rupli’s largesse.

It’s a pretty funny pattern. If you think Tim Rupli is just giving money to the candidates he cares about based on his personal liberalism or conservatism, think again. The following is a plot of the recipients of Tim Rupli’s money according to our congressional ratings from conservative (negative scores) to progressive (positive scores):

Net Congressional Ratings for Members of Congress who received money from credit card and payday lender lobbyist Tim Rupli

As you can see, Rupli’s contributions are all over the map, from very strongly progressive in behavior to very strongly conservative. This suggests that Rupli is making contributions based on some other axis. But what?

As I noted above, Tim Rupli is a lobbyist for various banks, credit card companies, payday lenders and online lending entities that have an interest in keeping interest rates high. The jurisdiction for bills covering this topic in the House is the Financial Services Committee, and it turns out that 34% of the House recipients of Tim Rupli’s money are seated on the House Financial Services Committee. By comparison, 14% of Rupli recipients sit on the House Oversight and Governmental Reform Committee, 14% sit on the Armed Services Committee, 6% sit on the Energy and Commerce Committee, 6% sit on the Small Business Committee, 3% each sit on the Appropriations, Ways and Means and Rules Committees. None of the Rupli recipients whatsoever sit on the Homeland Security Committee or in House Leadership positions. By comparison, Rupli’s emphasis on the Financial Services Committee is rather large, and that makes sense if you believe Tim Rupli is doling out cash in order to influence members of Congress.

But still, let’s consider the converse: 66% of the recipients of Tim Rupli’s money in the House of Representatives are not seated on the House Financial Services Committee. Why are they getting money from Tim Rupli? To what end? If you could take a look at that list and lend me a little insight in that regard, I’d be grateful.

2 thoughts on “Help Me Solve the Tim Rupli Campaign Contribution Mystery”

  1. Tom says:

    Ah, the ever-popular “buying of influence” is what that is. Ye see, if ya spread around the “largesse” in the legislature, well then these Congresswhores “owe” ya! It’s so simple.
    Then, when you need a certain bill to die or have on you want action on, ya call in yer favors, see? Works pert near ever-time.

    1. Jim says:

      Right, but… why these Congresshumans beyond those on the Financial Services Committee? There are 435 in the House. Why these ones?

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