The Big Money 20 are incumbents who represent the worst of Washington’s rigged system. They do the bidding of special interests like drug companies, Big Oil, Wall Street, and others with deep pockets while also voting to stack the deck in their favor – at the expense of the American people.
When it comes to choosing between the greed of his mega-donors or the needs of his constituents, Congressman Pete Sessions has chosen his mega-donors time and again.
- During his 20 years in Congress, Sessions has earned a reputation for doing favors for his big donors. Most notable, Sessions made headlines for helping billionaire R. Allen Stanford who was convicted for running a $7 billion international Ponzi scheme. In one particular egregious case, Sessions sent a letter to Venezuelan regulators to help Stanford secure a bank charter. Stanford went on to raise thousands for Sessions’ 2004 campaign. In 2006, as Sessions was campaigning to become the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, he again sought the help of Stanford and cited past favors in his request. Stanford donated $28,500 on Sessions’ behalf and helped him secure the role of Chairman in 2008. The next year, the FBI raided Stanford’s office and he was eventually convicted of the running the second-largest scam in modern financial history. Hours after the raid, Sessions, who had received over $41,000 from Stanford and his employees, emailed his favorite mega-donor: “I love you and still believe in you. Let me know if you need my ear.”
- Among Sessions’ other shady dealings, he has pushed bills that would protect his major donors and former employers in the telecom industry and steered $1.6 million in earmarks to another donor despite his company having no experience relevant to the earmark.
- Sessions did more than take advantage of the rigged system, he also voted to protect it. During his career, he voted against the DISCLOSE Act, voted against a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, supported legislation that would roll back the Johnson Amendment, and supported gutting the office of Congressional Ethics.
The only way to stop this cycle of pay-to-play politics is to defeat the politicians who are bought by the special interests and rig the system in their favor. End Citizens United has made the Big Money 20 a priority for its $35 million campaign to throw these incumbents out of office and elect reformers who will put focus on all of us, not those who write the biggest checks.
For the full list of Big Money 20 targets, click here.
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END CITIZENS UNITED