Tuesday, July 28, 2009
USA Today reports that lobbyists and businesses that employ them donated $5.8 million to charitable foundations that are affiliated with various congressional caucuses. Using lobbying report data, the article found that almost all of the funds - $5.7 million - went to two groups: the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. The caucuses themselves are barred from using private funds to operate and receive only a limited amount of public money. According to its website, the Foundation is "a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy, research and educational institute that aims to help improve the socioeconomic circumstances of African Americans and other underserved communities." Its Chairperson is Rep. Kendrick B. Meek, and nine other members of Congress sit on its board along with representatives of many prominent business such as Citi, Ford Motor Company, and Microsoft. As for the Institute, it describes itself as "the premier Hispanic non-profit and non-partisan 501(c) (3) leadership development organization in the country." Its Chair is Rep. Nydia Velázquez, and numerous members of Congress and representatives of major companies also sit on its board.