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Washington, D.C., has only 0.2 percent of the U.S. population and three votes in the Electoral College but it turns out city residents, or at least a select few, have more representation in congress than it first appears. A new study from MAPLight.org, a nonpartisan, research group, shows that members of the House collectively raised about $700 million between 2005 and 2007, of which 79 percent came from outside their home districts.
Washington, which has a smaller population than any state other than Wyoming, was the source of $146,807,711, more than one-fifth of all contributions. The city and its surrounding areas “are home to scores of lobbying firms and political action committees,” the study pointed out. “For 99% of U.S. House members (418 out of 421), Washington, D.C., was among their top 5 contributing states.”
The study allows you to search the record for every member of Congress. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi raised $2.8 million from outside of her district, bringing in more from Washington ($1.15 million) than she did from the entire state of California ($935,510). Barney Frank, chairman of the House Committee of Financial Services, raised 91 percent of his money from outside his district, with seven of his top ten top contributing zip codes being in the Washington area. Overall, Democrats accounted for 19 of the top 20 spots on the list of members most dependent on money from beyond their district.
But Republicans don’t get much money from their own constituents either. House Minority Leader John Boehner raised $4.7 million, of which 91 percent came from non-constituents. His top zip code for contributions was 20005, the heart of Washington’s K Street area, where he brought in $280,000.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”