Who’s Backing Hillary?

 DONALD TRUMP AND the Republican primaries have dominated the news cycle recently, but Hillary Clinton has quietly outraised any other candidate on K Street, as The Hill reports.  Clinton received more than $600,000 from more than 300 different registered lobbyists and PACs in the first half of 2015, outpacing the next closest candidate (Jeb Bush) by nearly $200,000 and by double the number of contributors. More intriguing, though, is which industries have contributed the most to Clinton’s campaign so far.

As The Intercept notes, private prison companies have been among the top donors and organizers for Hillary Clinton’s campaign fund. Although Clinton has increasingly moved leftward, particularly with regard to her views on police and criminal justice reform, advocates are growing concerned that the contributions from private prison companies will color her views in that regard. Indeed, we’ve expressed concern about the pernicious influence of private prison companies on the criminal justice system in this country. It remains to be seen how much their contributions will impact Clinton’s views and policies, though.

Despite her unequivocal support of climate change reform, including naming it as one of her top priorities should she be elected President, Clinton has also received significant campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry, as Mother Jones reports. Clinton has called climate change “consequential, urgent, [the most] sweeping collection of challenges we face as a nation and a world.” Despite this, she has been hammered by activists over her perceived support of the Keystone XL Pipeline, as well as the speaking fees she accepted by Canadian banks that support the pipeline. On the other hand, the fossil fuels industry has some of the deepest pockets around, and it’s unlikely that any candidate in this election hasn’t received money from the industry at one point or another.

So, how concerned should criminal justice reformers and climate change advocates be about the apparent contradictions between Hillary Clinton’s policy positions and her campaign contributors? At this juncture, not too concerned. Clinton isn’t the first candidate to hold positions that directly oppose the interests of her campaign contributors, and she certainly won’t be the last in this election cycle. Even so, reformers should stay informed on who’s giving money to whom, and Lobby Blog will continue to track these issues for key candidates leading up to the next Presidential election.

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