USA Today releases
a "review of legislative and campaign records" that shows freshmen lawmakers "are pushing legislation that could benefit some of their most generous campaign contributors." For example:
Five months after taking office, Rep. Stephen Fincher, a cotton farmer from a mostly rural swath of Tennessee, introduced a bill to mandate swift federal approval of genetically modified crops for commercial sale. Fincher has received more campaign money from agribusiness than any other industry.
Here's another: Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) is pushing a bill to help the mining industry avoid EPA regulation:
In the first six months of this year, the mining industry has contributed more than $176,000 to McKinley's re-election effort — nearly double the amount he received from those interests in the two years leading up the 2010 election.
And let's not forget Rep. Sean "Strugglin' on $174k" Duffy (R-WI):
Duffy, who gets a significant portion of his campaign funds from financial services companies, is the lead sponsor of a measure that would dilute the powers of a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Thanks to those lawmakers and others like them:
House freshmen collected $37.2 million during the first six months of the year, a 34.3% jump over the campaign money raised by new House lawmakers at the same point in the 2010 election cycle, according to Federal Election Commission data.
A third of the donations this year to House freshmen who have joined the Tea Party caucus came from political action committees, a USA TODAY analysis shows.
With priorities like this, is it any wonder that tea party ratings are now at an all-time low?