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John Boehner Connected Super PAC Accused of Taking $2.5 Million in Illegal Donations
An FEC complaint was filed today against the John Boehner connected super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund for taking $2.5 million in illegal campaign contributions.
The FEC complaint filed by Public Citizen, Friends of the Earth-US, Greenpeace and Oil Change International accuses Chevron of making, and the Boehner affiliated super PAC of accepting $2.5 million in illegal campaign contributions.
According to Public Citizen,
In October, Chevron gave $2.5 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC reportedly tied to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and the congressional campaign committee of the Republican Party. Government contractors such as Chevron are strictly prohibited by federal law from making “any … contribution to any political party, committee or candidate for public office or to any person for any political purpose or use.
The ban, also known as the “pay-to-play” prohibition, was passed by Congress in 1940 to curb corruption and the appearance of corruption due to the unique circumstances of private businesses bidding for lucrative government contracts. Such laws have been repeatedly upheld by the courts, starting with the 1995 Blount v. Securities and Exchange Commission decision and more recently in the Green Party of Connecticut v. Garfield decision in 2010 and the Wagner v. FEC decision last year.
Boehner’s has never been afraid to make it publicly known who owns him. In 1996, Bob Herbert wrote about Boehner dishing out checks from the tobacco industry to his fellow Republicans on the House floor, “One day last summer Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, chairman of the House Republican Conference, decided to play Santa Claus. Perhaps he was bored. Debates were being conducted on such issues as funding for foreign operations and a proposal to amend the Constitution to outlaw desecration of the flag. In any event, Mr. Boehner took it upon himself to begin handing out money from tobacco lobbyists to certain of his colleagues on the House floor.”
Last year, Boehner invested in oil companies that would benefit from Keystone XL. He then used his position as Speaker of the House to push for passage of the pipeline. Boehner has long sold his votes to the highest corporate bidder, but violating the law by taking contributions from a federal contractor is a new low even for him. John Boehner isn’t just a poor leader. He is quite possibly a criminally corrupt leader who is abusing his power.
The Chevron donations mattered because they accounted for 22% of the entire total raised by the Congressional Leadership Fund in 2012. Of the $11.3 million the super PAC raised, $9.4 million was spent attacking 14 House Democratic candidates. It is not a stretch to say that Boehner might be leading a smaller House majority today if not for Chevron’s $2.5 million contribution during the last month of the 2012 campaign.
Boehner’s behavior is another reminder that no matter what laws are passed, only the public funding of elections will eliminate the corruption of our electoral process by special interest dollars.
Until then, it’s time for John Boehner to go.