A short time ago, I wrote my, “H.R. 5034 – The Bill of Greed“, blog entry that received a lot of positive comments from many of you. Today, I have decided to go even deeper and break down the numbers so everyone has an idea where we are in all of this. As I was doing my research for this update, I was surprised by many things which I will share with you all. For now, let’s go behind the numbers!
Behind the Numbers
Please keep in mind that all of the figures presented are as of June 23, 2010. On June 23, 2010, there were 121 co-sponsors from the House of Representatives. Out of those 121:
This is very important to note because traditionally, both the National Beer Wholesalers of America and The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America support Republicans. However, since the Democrats have held the House in the past few years, the money has trended towards the Democrats. But in the grand scheme of spending, Republicans still dominate the dollars.
Top 10 pay outs from NBWA (Career)
The following lists are the top 10 highest paid members of the House of Representatives who have signed onto the bill by the NBWA & WSWA. While the money may not seem very large, keep in mind, this is money that’s accounted for. As we all know, there are ways to get around contribution limits.
- Rep Boyd, Allen [FL-2] – $75,000.00
- Rep Pomeroy, Earl [ND] – $69,750.00
- Rep Diaz-Balart, Lincoln [FL-21] – $69,500.00
- Rep Coble, Howard [NC-6] – $68,200.00
- Rep Mica, John L. [FL-7] – $58,500.00
- Rep Simpson, Michael K. [ID-2] – $55,000.00
- Rep Peterson, Collin C. [MN-7] – $53,200.00
- Rep Miller, Gary G. [CA-42] – $52,500.00
- Rep Diaz-Balart, Mario [FL-25] – $50,042.00
- Rep Capito, Shelley Moore [WV-2] – $50,000.00
Top 10 pay outs WSWA (Career)
One thing you’ll notice here, is that the money contributed isn’t nearly as much as the NBWA, but these members of the House are still influenced by the money.
- Rep Dingell, John D. [MI-15] – $26,000.00
- Rep Towns, Edolphus [NY-10] – $24,574.00
- Rep Boyd, Allen [FL-2] – $22,592.00
- Rep Pomeroy, Earl [ND] – $20,500.00
- Rep Rush, Bobby L. [IL-1] – $17,500.00
- Rep Berkley, Shelley [NV-1] – $15,800.00
- Rep Coble, Howard [NC-6] – $14,000.00
- Rep Shuster, Bill [PA-9] – $12,000.00
- Rep Murphy, Patrick J. [PA-8] – $11,500.00
- Rep Diaz-Balart, Lincoln [FL-21] – $9,500.00
Top 10 Combined Payouts (Career)
- Rep Boyd, Allen [FL-2] – $97,592.00
- Rep Pomeroy, Earl [ND] – $90,250.00
- Rep Coble, Howard [NC-6] – $82,200.00
- Rep Diaz-Balart, Lincoln [FL-21] – $79,000.00
- Rep Dingell, John D. [MI-15] – $73,000.00
- Rep Mica, John L. [FL-7] – $58,500.00
- Rep Simpson, Michael K. [ID-2] – $58,500.00 (tied for 6th)
- Rep Diaz-Balart, Mario [FL-25] – $57,042.00
- Rep Peterson, Collin C. [MN-7] – $55,292.00
- Rep Miller, Gary G. [CA-42] – $55,000.00
Payouts for 2010 Session
NBWA: $1,444,370 – 51.3% $1,372,842 – 48.7%
WSWA: $249,648 – 68.7% $113,750 – 31.3%
Total: $1,694,018 – 53.3% $1,486,592 – 46.7%
Average: $21,443.27 – 37.7% $35,394.05 – 62.3%
Do you see what I mean when I say that Republicans dominate the money? Although these organizations have given less to Republicans this session, the average contribution is much more significant.
NBWA Total (Since 1989):
$21,490,595 $7,048,035 – 32.8% $14,421,310 – 67.2%
WSWA Total (Since 1998):
$2,249,416 $957,699 – 42.6% $1,291,717 – 57.4%
Over the history of the NBWA & WSWA, they have traditionally given more money to Republicans than Democrats. This could mean Republicans may be more receptive to their causes or it could just mean that since they controlled congress in recent years, they figure their money is better served on that side of the aisle. If you also look at the average contributions, more money is given to Republicans than Democrats. I am willing to bet that it may be easier to sway Democrats to take their name off as a co-sponsor if the opposition can make a more convincing argument. This is where we all come in. The letters we write to our House Representatives help, but you can also attend their town hall meetings and try to get your voice heard there. Most of these town hall meetings tend to be about the most controversial issues, but if you get a chance to ask a question, make sure to bring this up. That’s how the word can spread further, especially if there are camera crews present 😉 There is, of course, another way: Lobbying! We all hear about the bad parts of lobbying, but there are people who lobby for good causes like ours. There are efforts on-going, but we need a whole lot more.
Should We Be Concerned Yet?
Here are some facts that may allow you all to breathe a little bit easier:
- 9 of the co-sponsors on this bill are currently behind in the polls.
- 2 of the co-sponsors are retiring at the end of the year
- 2 of the co-sponsors are running for other offices and will be out at the end of the year
- 2 of the co-sponsors are running for senate and are way behind in the polls
- 1 of the co-sponsors has lost their nomination and will be out at the end of the year
- 1 of the co-sponsors is running for governor and is essentially out at the end of the
The number of House members signing this bill may seem dangerously close to the numbers needed to bring it to the floor, but with this piece of data, we can eliminate a few people. As a reminder, The House of Representatives is voted on every two years, so every co-sponsor is up for re-election. The polling is still early so some of these folks can still catch up in the polls. Many of these folks will be so consumed with their campaigns and other activities that this bill will get pushed further and further behind. While we can’t rely on this, this will give us more time to prepare our arguments, craft our attack strategies, and make sure this bill never gets passed!
Here is another interesting fact. Out of all the co-sponsors, only House Democrats Rep Hastings, Alcee L. [FL-23] & Rep Wasserman Schultz, Debbie [FL-20] have not taken money from either side yet have co-sponsored the bill. It’s very unusual in this political era, but it may be something specific to Florida. I think people should target these two members and see why they agreed to co-sponsor the bill. Maybe they can be convinced to take their names off the bill.
We all have been sending letters to our own members of congress, telling them to stop H.R. 5034, but maybe we should start targeting people who have co-sponsored the bill. An effective strategy may be linking our efforts with a cause they believe in. For example: Respecting the constitution and how it wasn’t designed to protect monopolies, but the will of the people. As we you and I know, choice in the marketplace is the will of the people and that should be respected. Do your research on these representatives and make your case. Another suggestion is for the H.R. 5034 opposition to team up with folks from other causes that may have a similar interest. That’s how you grow a movement and defeat a bill. You may not agree with the other sides ideals, but you may have common ground on this issue and may be able to gather their support. Another suggestion, and probably the most important one, is to team up with those who enjoy spirits. Remember, wine is only a piece of the iceberg. H.R. 5034 is also targeting the direct shipment of spirits and the spirits community stands to lose if this passes as well. If we all team up, we can grow our movement and increase our chances of defeating this bill. Finally, keep up the pressure and don’t let up! Keep writing letters, making phone calls, attending town hall meetings, and make your case. Also, talk to those who may share your interests, but may not know about the bill.
In my next blog entry on this topic, I will update you all on the polling data and the money counts so you can target your efforts.