Two dozen public interest, consumer, and government watchdog organizations want to shine a bright light on the activities of the newly established super committee tasked with finding $1.5 trillion in additional deficit reduction this fall.
Specifically, the groups want members of the joint Congressional committee to put a halt to all political fundraising while they conduct their work and provide details of any and all meetings and contacts with with lobbyists and outside parties.
“I do think there’s an opportunity for members and appointees to this super committee to begin to rehabilitate the trust and confidence that Congress has an institution has lost,” Public Campaign’s David Donnelly tells TPM. “But in order to do that, they are going to have to be completely transparent…Coming up with a proposal to cut 1.5 trillion dollars ove ten years has huge implications for Americans so it’s important that they do something that says we insulated this from undue influence.”
A dozen members of the House and Senate will comprise so-called super committee, and lobbyists and donors have already said they are gearing up to spend millions this fall trying to influence its outcome.
“These 12 members will come under intense pressure by wealthy corporate interests and their lobbyists to leave their special tax loopholes, unwarranted subsidies, and wasteful programs untouched,” the groups said in their open letter.
To counteract D.C.’s money and influence machine, the groups are calling on the appointed members to sign a two-part pledge, agreeing to cease all political fundraising for themselves, their party, and for other candidates and provide full transparency on any meetings with outside groups or individuals regarding the committee’s work, including meetings with lobbyists, corporate CEOs, or donors.
The letter was organized by campaign-finance watchdog Public Campaign, and has been signed by representatives from Alliance for a Just Society, Brave New Films, Campaign for America’s Future, Common Cause, CREDO Mobile, Center for Community Change, ColorOfChange, Democracy Matters, Demos, Energy Action Coalition, Fix Congress First, Health Care for America Now, MoveOn.org Political Action, National People’s Action, New Bottom Line Campaign, Oil Change International, PICO National Network, Progress Now, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Progressives United, Public Citizen, Rethink Afghanistan, U.S. Action, and Voices for Progress.