Special Interests Gave Millions to Budget Panel

By JACK GILLUM | August 11, 2011 | 4:45 PM EDT

Sen. Patty Murray answers a question during a news conference following a visit to the headquarters of Amazon.com Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011, in Seattle. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid named Murray, as well as Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Max Baucus, D-Mont., to a powerful new committee tasked to find a bipartisan plan to slash the federal budget deficit. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The 12 lawmakers appointed to a new supercommittee charged with tackling the nation's fiscal problems have received millions in contributions from special interests with a stake in potential cuts to federal programs.

An Associated Press review of federal campaign data finds that the six Democrats and six Republicans on the committee have gotten a total of more than $3 million during the past five years. Those contributions went to their outside election committees and included donations from defense companies and health care groups.

The appointments have prompted early concerns from watchdog groups, which urged the lawmakers to stop fundraising and resign from leadership positions in political groups.


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