Arizona Sen. John McCain was ranked well down a list of lawmakers who received donations from defense PACS in 2014, despite his position as head of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee.
Citing analysis of Federal Election Commission filings in 2014 for the 20 biggest defense PACs, Politico reported
that the senator is tied for 190th place with a total of just $39,000 received for his campaign and leadership PAC.
Loren Thompson, a defense industry consultant, pointed out Tuesday that McCain has never been number one for donations by defense PACs because of his outspoken criticism of defense contracts, delays and cost overruns.
"With many legislators, giving money is a form of insurance, but with McCain it gets you nothing unless you also perform," Thompson told Politico.
"I think defense companies are less inclined to give money to McCain because they’re not sure it will get them anything. In fact, it could even backfire if McCain feels he has to prove he’s independent."
McCain, who was the GOP ranking member of the Senate Armed Service Committee last year, shares the 190th spot with Democratic Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos, Republican Georgia Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, ousted Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall of West Virginia and newly elected Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas.
But the chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services subcommittees and the House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees were high on the list for donations from defense PACs, according to the political news website.
Texas Republican Rep. Mac Thornberry, the incoming House Armed Services chairman, topped the rankings with $245,000 received by his campaign committee and leadership PAC from the top 20 defense PACs.
House Defense Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, a New Jersey Republican, was second with $220,000, and Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, came third with $215,000, according to Politico.
House Defense Appropriations ranking member Pete Visclosky, an Indiana Democrat, was next with $202,000, followed by House Armed Services Committee ranking member Adam Smith, a Washington Democrat, with $199,000, and incoming Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran, a Mississippi Republican, with $196,000.
Incoming Senate Defense Appropriations ranking member Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, came in slightly lower at 24th, receiving $136,000 from defense industry PACs.
"It’s just a matter of rule that the leadership of the committees that have oversight of a particular industry are the primary recipients of the campaign contributions," Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist at the watchdog group Public Citizen, told Politico.
"And the fact that McCain ranks in at 190 in the defense industry, and yet … is in position to assume leadership of the committee, is just utterly surprising."
But when McCain’s spokesman Brian Rogers was questioned about the incoming chairman’s low ranking, he replied, "Sen. McCain is not surprised."
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