A media release from MAPlight.org takes to task several congressional Democrats who changed their votes on the Foreign Intelligence Survelliance Act of 1978, commonly known as FISA.
FISA, you may recall, was amended in March so that it would not shield phone carriers that helped the National Security Agency carry out illegal wiretapping. Last week, a new bill granting immunity to the telecoms passed.
What changed? According to MAPlight.org, which bills itself as “a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that provides unprecedented government transparency, shining a light on our broken system of money-dominated politics,” it was money, money, money.
“Ninety-four House Democrats voted in favor of this measure — rejecting immunity — on March 14, then ‘changed’ to vote in favor of the June 20 House bill — approving immunity,” according to the media missive. “MAPLight.org’s research department compiled PAC campaign contributions from Verizon, AT&T and Sprint and correlated them with the voting records of all House members who voted on last week’s FISA bill.”
Of the 94 Democrats who flip-flopped on FISA, 83 received PAC contributions from the three telecom giants, according to MAPlight’s research, some as high as $29,500 for Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina. Other notables in the top ten include Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel ($28,000) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ($24,500.)
But at the bottom of the list, those 11 souls who changed their votes but didn’t see so much as a free phone card line their wallets is Minnesota’s own 7th District Rep. Collin Peterson. Which means he’s either he’s highly principled or simply pound foolish.