"Follow the money." That was the infamous counsel given by the informant “Deep Throat” to the reporters investigating the Watergate scandal.
That direction seems to still hold true some 40 years later.
A new study reveals that the representatives who voted against the effort by Justin Amash (R-Mich.) to curtail the authority of the National Security Agency (NSA) to conduct wholesale surveillance of millions of Americans received twice as much in donations as their colleagues who stood with Amash.
What is remarkable about the report from a partisan point of view is that the amount of money accepted from the military industrial complex was a better indicator of how a lawmaker voted than the letter after his or her name.
In fairness, the congressmen who voted to permit the NSA to continue collecting data in defiance of the Fourth Amendment didn’t sell their votes cheaply.
The funds donated by political action committees, employees, and directors of the country’s wealthiest defense contractors totaled nearly $13 million over two years.
An analysis by The New American of the information published by MapLight (based on data gleaned from OpenSecrets) reveals that a “no” vote on the Amash amendment (remember, a no vote was a vote to continue the NSA’s unconstitutional surveillance of phone records) was worth about $41,000. A representative who voted “yes,” on the other hand, could count on only about $18,700 from the defense and intelligence sector’s slush fund.
Even a cursory glance at the chart published in the MapLight report reveals that of the top 10 recipients of the defense donations, only Representative Jim Moran (D-Va.) voted in favor of the Amash amendment and against green lighting the federal government’s surveillance activities.
Expanding the search to the top 20, the number of “yes” votes doubles to two: Representative Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) voted to end the collection of phone records.
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Photo is of Crystal City, a section of Virginia mainly devoted to defense contractors' lobbyists