Piquing Sue's Interests

by Jiji Lee

It's no secret that Rep Sue W. Kelly of New York's 19th district receives most of her campaign contributions from political action committees. In fact, grassroots blogs like Take 19 and the subtly named Sue Kelly Poop Sheet rebuke Kelly for accepting contributions from business behemoths.

According to the FEC's 2005-2006 candidate summary report, Kelly received a total of $1,431,202 in campaign donations and nearly 54 percent of these contributions came from PACs, with a majority in business sectors. Bank of America, Deloitte Touche, and Ernst and Young were a few of the top donors. But what motivates big businesses to donate to a congresswoman who calls herself a proponent of small business rights?

Well, this former PTA President serves as Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services (fka the Banking Committee), and Kelly oversees the very same industries that contribute to her campaign.

Kelly has supported corporate friendly bills such as the Financial Services Regulatory Relief Act and voted for a slew of tax cuts that opponents have criticized for benefiting the wealthy and big business.

But Kelly's voting record and contributors are not as compatible as her cable knit sweater sets ... or ... are they?

Kelly sponsored the Business Checking Freedom Act , which repeals a 1933 law that prohibits banks from paying interest on business checking accounts. If approved by the Senate, this law would be a positive step for small businesses as it would allow them to earn interest in checking accounts. While the bill hasn't moved since 2005, Kelly is actively touting this "achievement" in her re-election campaign.

Interestingly, the Center for Responsive Politics lists The NRA and the Human Rights Campaign (a gay rights organization) as big donors in the late nineties.

Kelly has consistently supported gun ownership since then by voting against laws that would allow misuse lawsuits against gun manufacturers, and has voted for reducing the waiting time for guns.

But apparently, Sue Kelly's love didn't flowth equally to her gay supporters. The Human Rights Campaign stopped contributing to Kelly's campaign after 2002. Perhaps some votes against same sex marriage might have had something to do with that...

So judging from Kelly's voting record and campaign contributions, it seems clear that Kelly's transactional donors will keep donating so long as she keeps their interests in mind. And, if you happen to be a gun owning banker ... then Sue Kelly is clearly the rep for you.