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The education special interests that have contributed to the congressional ‘supercommittee’

The 12 lawmakers — three Senate Democrats, three Senate Republicans, three House Republicans and three House Democrats — charged with drafting legislation to cut at least $1.2 trillion out of the deficit over the next 10 years have received at least $20 million in political contributions from 1989 through 2011. Education Week, published by the nonprofit Editorial Projects in Education, asks: So who in the education world has given a lot of money to these supercommittee members?

According to the publication, “the National Education Association, NEA gave $297,650 to supercommittee members from 1989 to 2011. Eighty-nine percent of that money went to the Democrats on the supercommittee, while just about 10 percent of it went to Republicans.” Education Week adds: “The American Federation of Teachers wasn’t far behind, with $215,950 in donations, all of it to the committee’s Democrats. That puts the AFT at 68th on the list of top 100 donors.”

Education Week also reports that “the Club for Growth, a political action committee that supports candidates who favor low-taxes and slimmed down government” is the top contributor, with more than $1 million given from 1989 through 2011. All of its contributions went to the committee’s Republicans. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., is a committee member and a former president of the Club for Growth.

OpenSecrets — a website of campaign contribution data run by the Center for Responsive Politics — shows that the top 100 contributors to supercommittee members include agribusiness, communications/electronics, construction, defense, energy/natural resources, finance, bankers, Realtors, health, lawyers, lobbyists and transportation industries.

The supercommittee is co-chaired by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. and Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas.

Senate members include: Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont., John Kerry, D-Mass., John Kyl, R-Ariz, and Rob Portman, R-Ohio (former head of the Office of Management and Budget).

Education Week adds that other House Republican members include Reps. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Dave Camp, R-Mich. House Democrats on the committee include Reps. Xavier Becerra of California, James Clyburn of South Carolina, and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland.

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