December 14, 2008

Ryan's auto bailout vote: Did campaign $$$ play a role?

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-1st District, said last Wednesday that he voted for the $14 billion auto industry bailout because the funds would come from "a previously approved U.S. Department of Energy loan package. Because no additional taxpayer dollars were appropriated, I was able to support this legislation."

Maybe. But here's possibly another reason for the former fiscal conservative's support: His campaign contributions from auto industry sources supporting the bailout are more than double those received by congressmen opposing it., a website that "illuminates the connection between money and politics," reported this week that over the past five years (January 2003 - October 2008), auto manufacturers, auto dealers and labor unions gave an average of $74,100 in campaign contributions to each Representative who ultimately voted in favor of the auto bailout, compared with an average of $45,015 to each Representative who voted against the bailout -- "65% more money, on average, given to those who voted Yes."

Paul Ryan did better than that $74,100 average. Quite a bit better. He received $93,200 (with $13,500 of that in 2008).

Those auto industry campaign contributions came from:
Auto dealers, new & used: $45,950
Auto manufacturers: $38,000
Truck/Automotive parts & accessories: $7,750
Manufacturing unions: $1,000
Manufacturing: $500

TOTAL $93,200
To be fair, let's be quick to stipulate two things:

First, that Janesville, Ryan's home town, boasts an 80-year-old GM assembly plant, where 1,200 workers make Chevy Tahoes. (And 3,000 other auto-related workers in the area have lost their jobs since June.) Without a bailout -- and maybe even with one -- that plant is scheduled for closure two days before Christmas.

And, second, that $93,200 is chump change to Ryan, who has raised millions in campaign contributions. Federal Elections Commission reports show his receipts as:
2007-2008 $1,641,943
2005-2006 $1,462,674
2003-2004 $1,374,025
2001-2002 $1,244,748
1999-2000 $1,343,419
A tip of the hat to Jim Zellmer's blog for pointing to the research on auto industry contributions and the potential connection between them and this bailout.


  1. Ryan is a traitor to the GOP and the American people.

  2. If it is good for Janesville, he votes for it.

    Sucks to live in Racine....

  3. But fair is fair how much did say Kohl get for campaign donations?

  4. No idea. You'll have to wait until or someone else sifts through the thousands of pages of senators' campaign finance data.

    Unless you want to do it?

  5. Pete - You must be joking. Colt is all talk and no action. We are still waiting on his various recalls to start:


  6. recall? on what grounds?

    i hear it often, but not sure why...