KEY FACTS ABOUT JOE LIEBERMAN’S CAMPAIGN DONORS
During his 18 years in the Senate, Joe Lieberman has taken numerous opportunities to use his power in Congress to benefit an industry that has donated thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars to his campaign bank account. He has sponsored and voted for legislation benefiting the pharmaceutical and health product industries, while taking more than $400,000 in campaign contributions from them. Lieberman’s biggest campaign donors have come from the securities and investment industry. Critics have linked the millions in contributions to his opposition to higher accounting standards and corporate accountability measures.
Lieberman has flown under the radar on several other key issues tied to his campaign donors. He was one of only 11 Democrats to support an asbestos trust fund bill in 2005. Major corporations – some of whom stood to benefit by billions of dollars – contributed tens of thousands of dollars to Lieberman’s campaign. Connecticut’s Indian tribes, who contributed more than $40,000 to Lieberman, projected an additional $6 billion in earnings from Lieberman’s efforts to establish a moratorium on the recognition of new tribes. Also, in 2005, Lieberman was the only Democratic cosponsor of legislation attempting to lift the Wright Amendment restrictions at Love Field in Dallas, Texas. Southwest Airlines, who made a $5,000 contribution to Lieberman, is a clear beneficiary of this bill.
The influence of lobbyists representing these campaign donors is a potential source of criticism for Lieberman. His former chief of staff, Michael Lewan, was a lobbyist for Enron. Lewan’s efforts to organize meetings between company officials and Lieberman’s staff were well-chronicled when Lieberman’s Government Affairs Committee was tasked to investigate the scandal in 2002. On two occasions, Lieberman’s staff members jumped to companies with significant interest in federal legislation being debated at the time. In 2005, Lieberman’s communications director took a position with Exxon Mobil, just a few months before the Senator voted for President Bush’s Energy Bill. In 1993, Lieberman’s “point man” on stock options signed on with a group lobbying against new accounting rules regarding stock options. Lieberman was the leading opponent of the new rules in the Senate.