Politicians in Washington are looking out for themselves and their donors instead of serving the people they represent. This kind of corruption has become the norm under President Donald Trump’s White House and the Republican-controlled Congress. Congressional Republicans passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which gave hundreds of billions of dollars to the lobbyists and corporations who contribute to their campaigns. Hard-working Americans pay the price for this kind of corruption because all the problems they are facing—from higher drug costs to lower wages—are ignored by their representatives in Congress.
Nationally, special interest groups representing Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry, oil and gas corporations, and more are seeing a great return on their investment in their favorite members of Congress. The cost of corruption is growing, but luckily, we have the receipts.
See the national totals, then profiles for some of the worst offenders below.
The tax scam
- National average tax cut for the top 1 percent: $55,190
- National average tax cut for the working and middle class: $680
- National average Affordable Care Act health care premium hike caused by the tax bill: $1,990
- Amount added to U.S. debt, which congressional Republicans want to pay for with cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits: $1.9 trillion
Prescription drug industry
- Total tax breaks for the industry: Investors in nine major drug companies received $50 billion in tax windfalls this year alone.
- Total industry contributions to House Republicans: $70,357,467
- 2018 industry contributions to current House Republicans: $7,661,157
- What it costs you: Some of the most popular brand-name drugs saw an average retail price increase of 15.5 percent in 2015. Prices continue to soar under the Trump administration, with 20 prescription drugs seeing price increases of more than 200 percent over a 14-month period.
- Total tax breaks for the industry: Five of the largest U.S. banks reported $2.5 billion worth of tax breaks in the first quarter of 2018.
- Total industry contributions to House Republicans: $217,274,344
- 2018 industry contributions to current House Republicans: $23,507,476
- What it costs you: Wall Street continues to lobby Congress to roll back reforms put in place after the Great Recession, and the Republican Congress continues to oblige, putting our economy at risk of another financial crisis and allowing Wall Street to scam working Americans.
- Total tax breaks for the industry: Five of the largest oil and gas companies received $11.5 billion in tax benefits in 2017.
- Total industry contributions to House Republicans: $107,229,874
- 2018 industry contributions to current House Republicans: $9,862,128
- What it costs you: Within President Trump’s first year and a half in office, gas prices rose by almost 18 percent. That price hike could lead to the average family spending about $350 more on gas each year. President Trump also plans to undo car fuel efficiency standards that would save consumers more than $1.7 trillion at the pump. Additionally, members of Congress looked the other way when President Trump’s former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt corruptly billed taxpayers for millions of dollars and pushed policies that benefit polluters but will cost Americans more than $260 billion per year.
- Lobbyist benefits: Six thousand lobbyists worked on the TCJA, and they expect new loopholes in the bill “to generate paydays for years,” according to Politico.
- Total industry contributions to House Republicans: $71,745,351
- 2018 lobbyist contributions to current House Republicans: $7,856,144
- What it costs you: Tax lobbyists donated almost $10 million to members of Congress leading up to the tax bill’s passage, and many officials who wrote the bill have now become lobbyists.
- Total industry contributions: Three of the largest corporate PACs have donated $6.3 million to candidates for the 2018 election.
- 2018 corporate PAC contributions to current House Republicans: $65,065,031
- What it costs you: Despite congressional Republicans’ claims that the tax bill was aimed at assisting the middle class and boosting wages, real wages for typical workers have remained stagnant since its passage, while corporations have spent more than $500 billion buying back their own stock.
Below are some of the worst offenders in Congress. Click on the links to see just how much they are benefitting and how they earn their backdoor cash from special interests.
- Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA-10)
- Rep. David Valadao (R-CA-21)
- Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA-25)
- Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA-45)
- Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO-06)
- Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL-18)
- Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL-26)
- Rep. Rod Blum (R-IA-01)
- Rep. David Young (R-IA-03)
- Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL-06)
- Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL-14)
- Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY-06)
- Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME-02)
- Rep. Jason Lewis (R-MN-02)
- Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN-03)
- Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE-02)
- Rep. John Faso (R-NY-19)
- Rep. John Katko (R-NY-24)
- Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH-01)
- Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA-17)
- Rep. John Culberson (R-TX-07)
- Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX-23)
- Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX-32)
- Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA-02)
- Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA-10)