Money–But Not Harman’s Own–Still Talks in California

Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), the wealthiest woman in Congress, beat back a primary challenge from Marcy Winograd (see May/June 2010 Washington Report, p. 24) without spending a dime of her own money. She had more than a little help from her pro-Israel friends, however.

According to a May 29 report in Politico, Harman "received $12,500 in late contributions from pro-Israel groups." (This amount is not reflected in the accompanying chart, which is based on FEC reports filed by April 15, 2010.) Ten days before the June 8 primary, Harman released a television ad featuring her fellow apologist for Israel Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) charging that "in Marcy Winograd’s vision, Israel would cease to exist." Winograd–”who, like Harman and Waxman, is Jewish–” favors a one-state solution to end Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

The Center for Responsive Politics shows that, as of late June, 32 percent of Harman’s $762,841 war chest came from political action committees (PACs), and 68 percent from individuals.

Winograd, by contrast, raised 99 percent of her $338,670 total from individuals and 1 percent from PACs–”and even threw in $1,050 of her own money!

Her effort was not in vain, however. Against a powerful incumbent, Winograd won 41 percent of the votes–”3 percentage points more than in her 2008 challenge to Harman. More significantly, perhaps, she made Washington’s unconditional support of Israel a campaign issue–”one the mainstream media won’t touch unless forced to.

Mark Kirk: No Exaggeration

Until recently, Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) was known almost exclusively as a "moderate Republican" with a good chance to win the Illinois Senate seat being vacated by Roland W. Burris and previously held by Barack Obama. Lately, however, he’s come under fire for overstating his military record and teaching record.

What the mainstream media won’t report, however, is the fact that for the past several years, pro-Israel PACs have been pouring money into Kirk’s re-election campaigns with an eye to seeing him in the Senate. We only wish it weren’t an exaggeration that, according to his House Web site, "Congressman Kirk remains an acknowledged leader of bipartisan efforts to enhance the U.S.-Israel strategic partnership. Congressman Kirk traveled to Israel in an official capacity many times before being elected to Congress and continues to actively lead on U.S.-Israel issues."

Perhaps he’d have more luck in the Knesset.

James Traficant: Beam Him Up!

After serving a seven-year prison sentence, former Rep James A. Traficant Jr. (D-OH) has decided to run for his old House seat as an independent. The current incumbent is Democrat Tim Ryan.

This past February he told CNN, "I have been a Democrat all my life, and quite frankly I am disgusted with both parties. I see the Democrats are completely controlled by foreign interests and big lobbying money. The Republicans are, too, but the Democrats more so."

In a September 2009 interview with Fox TV’s Greta Van Sustern upon his release from prison, Traficant was more explicit: "I believe that Israel has a powerful stranglehold on the American government. They control both members of the House, the House and the Senate. They have us involved in wars in which we have little or no interest. Our children are coming back in body bags. Our nation is bankrupt over these wars. And if you open your mouth, you get targeted. And if they don’t beat you at the poll, they’ll put you in prison."

Somehow we suspect we won’t be finding James Traficant’s name on this chart.

Top Ten 2010 and Career Recipients of Pro-Israel PAC Funds

Compiled by Hugh Galford

House: Current

Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana (R-FL) 39,000
Skelton, Ike (D-MO) 35,500
Deutch, Theodore (D-FL) 32,250
Hoyer, Steny H. (D-MD) 32,000
Cantor, Eric (R-VA) 30,750
Lowey, Nita M. (D-NY) 8,000
Berman, Howard (D-CA) 27,000
Berkley, Shelley (D-NV) 25,500
Hastings, Alcee (D-FL) 21,000
Reyes, Silvestre (D-TX) 21,000

House: Career

Berkley, Shelley (D-NV) 315,555
Engel, Eliot (D-NY) 247,418
Hoyer, Steny H. (D-MD) 225,275
Cantor, Eric (R-VA) 206,980
Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana (R-FL) 202,740
Lowey, Nita M. (D-NY) 177,238
Obey, David R. (D-WI) 163,600
Burton, Dan L. (R-IN) 135,500
Levin, Sander M. (D-MI) 129,727
Skelton, Ike (D-MO) 123,950

Senate: Current

Kirk, Mark S. (R-IL) 63,104
Wyden, Ron (D-OR) 57,400
Inouye, Daniel K. (D-HI) 57,000
Reid, Harry (D-NV) 56,000
Specter, Arlen (D-PA) 50,500
Bennett, Robert (R-UT) 42,000
Feingold, Russell D. (D-WI) 41,000
Thune, John (R-SD) 40,500
Vitter, David (R-LA) 40,500
Grayson, C.M. (Trey) (R-KY) 28,500

Senate: Career

Levin, Carl (D-MI) 728,737
Specter, Arlen (D-PA) 553,973
Harkin, Thomas R. (D-IA) 552,950
Lautenberg, Frank R. (D-NJ) 503,578
McConnell, Mitch (R-KY) 485,141
Reid, Harry (D-NV) 376,301
Durbin, Richard J. (D-IL) 373,421
Lieberman, Joseph (Ind.-CT) 367,851
Baucus, Max (D-MT) 349,648
Wyden, Ron (D-OR) 334,962
Kirk, Mark S. (R-IL) 284,186