As the USA prepares to receive this year’s 1st quarterly campaign finance reports from congressional candidates, it’s a good time review the data that already exists from 2009. Often, it’s the reports of contributions from political action committees that gain attention, because they show the commercial allegiances of candidates rather directly. The category of “individual contributions”, on the other hand is often regarded as clean money, with the assumption that individual donors aren’t aligned with powerful interests.
The individual donations made to Congressman Tim Holden, a Blue Dog from Pennsylvania, show powerful interests don’t always make their presence known through PACs. Let’s examine just one source of individual donations to Holden: Flagship Government Relations.
On the 20th of November last year, the 2010 Holden re-election campaign received a donation from lobbyist Paul T. Anderson. In 2009, Anderson worked for Flagship Government Relations, dealing with the following clients: Concurrent Technologies, Fidelity Technologies Corp, and L-3 Communications.
Concurrent Technologies has clients in 28 government agencies, including a number of agencies within the Department of Defense. Fidelity Technologies and L-3 Communications are military contractors in the area of electronics. These companies have a strong financial interest in maintaining the favor of influential people in government.
Paul Anderson made his contribution to Tim Holden’s political future, but he wasn’t alone. On the very same day that he made his donation, three others from Flagship Government Relations gave money to Holden as well. Francis Fogarty is a partner at the firm. Kalylene Green is the CEO.
Julie Giardina is another federally-registered lobbyist who was once was a staff member for the Defense Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. Her expertise is in military appropriations.
It’s against the law for companies, including lobbying firms, to make coordinated contributions to political campaigns. Yet, that’s just what appears to have happened on November 20, 2009. Are we really to suppose that the CEO, a partner, and two lobbyists from Flagship Government Relations, all of whom live in Virginia, far away from Representative Holden’s district, just so happened be personally inspired to give money to Holden all at the same time?