A day after Senate Democrats and Republicans voted to keep their leadership in place for the third straight Congress, House Democrats and Republicans yesterday voted to do the the same.
Republicans unanimously decided to nominate John Boehner of Ohio, who has held the title of House Minority Leader for the past two Congresses, to be Speaker of the House. Democrats, by a 150-43 vote, made outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi their new minority leader.
As the Center for Public Integrity reported in June’s Who Bankrolls Congress? series, both Pelosi and Boehner have received millions of dollars from special interest political action committees over the course of their lengthy tenures in the House.
Boehner, whose nomination to be Speaker will not become official until the full House votes on it in January, has long been known for his close ties to conservative and business lobbyists. So perhaps it’s no surprise that Boehner’s top career donors included a lobbyist-turned-tobacco executive, two former CEOs of an insurance company, the head of a coal company, and a former telecommunications lobbyist, as well as corporate political action committees for two tobacco behemoths, two shipping companies, and four financial services firms and associations.
Pelosi, who remains Speaker for the lame-duck Congress, will be demoted to her old role as head of the minority party. She was House Minority Leader from 2002 to 2006. With extremely close ties to organized labor, Pelosi’s top career PAC donors have included the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, AFSCME, the National Education Association, UAW, Laborers’ International, the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association, International Association of Machinists, and the Air Line Pilots Association.
While labor figures to have less influence in the new Congress with Democrats in the minority, one small union is likely to have the ear of Boehner, the new Speaker. The American Maritime Officers, the union for merchant marine officers, ranked as Boehner’s eighth most generous PAC donor, with more than $150,000 in career donations.