Council for the National Interest

‘Jewish Currents’ on the ethnic make-up of 112th Congress

Jan 16 2014 / 7:25 am

Written by Lawrence Bush.

Jewish Currents, January 5, 2011 – As the 112th Congress convenes, we’re publishing this list of Jewish senators (13) and representatives (27), based on research by Alyssa Goldstein, our magazine’s intern at Bard College. The list includes their top five campaign contributors, the industries or interest groups that fund them most (this financial information comes courtesy of the Center for Responsive Politics), and their committee posts.

Why single out Jews in the Congress? Doing so may make some readers nervous about inviting anti-Semitism down on our community’s heads, or annoyed by the implication that Jews should be especially interested in Jews (or that Jews in positions of influence are pushed in one direction or another by their Jewish identities), or wrestling with definitional issues about whether Jews constitute a religious group (as defined by the U.S. Census) or a national minority (as defined in the old socialist bloc) or a nation (as defined by the Zionist movement) or a people/civilization (as defined by the Reconstructionist movement, among others) — or all of the above. Of course, a listing of African-Americans in Congress, or of women in Congress, or of gay men or lesbians in Congress, would probably be of great interest to our readers and provoke little ambivalence. Perhaps the difference in reaction indicates something significant about the nature of Jewish oppression: that in the modern world, we are afraid less of  powerlessness than of being perceived as having undue power. That is the anti-Semitism that was shaped and implemented by the Nazis, and it weighs heavily on Jewish heads today.

In any event, JC is a Jewish magazine, and we see it as a legitimate part of our work to report on the doings of Jews in Congress. One observation to make that brings us pride (or, for some of us, surprise): With the exception of Eric Cantor, the Republican majority whip in the House, all of the Jews in Congress are Democrats or independents, and the great majority are liberal. Despite the common misapprehension, especially among Jewish leftists, that the Jewish community is  conservative — a perception shaped mostly by highly visible, conservative Jewish activism regarding Israel — the reality of tenacious Jewish liberalism is revealed here.

THE SENATE

Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

Former state attorney general who defeated Republican Linda E. McMahon for the seat vacated by Chris Dodd. Top 5 Contributors: ActBlue, Boies Schiller & Flexner, Cablevision Systems, Belfer Management, Tudor Investment. Top 5 Industries/Interest Groups: Lawyers/Law Firms, Securities and Investment, retirees, real estate, leadership PACs. Committee Assignments: none yet.

Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

Reelected against the well-funded Carly Fiorina; in the Senate since 1992. Top 5 Contributors: EMILY’s List, Girardi & Keese, University of California, Time Warner, Cotchett, Pitre &McCarthy. Top 5 Industries/Interest Groups: lawyers/law firms, retirees, TV/music/movies, womens issues, Democrats/liberals. Committee Assignments: Commerce, Science, and Transportation; Environment and Public Works (chair); Foreign Relations

Benjamin Cardin (D-MD)

Formerly a member of the House, Cardin was first elected to the Senate in 2006. Top 5 Contributors: Johns Hopkins University, DLA Piper, Constellation Energy, Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Goldman Sachs.Top 5 Industries/Interest Groups: lawyers/law firms, real estate, retirees, health professionals, “pro-Israel.”Committee Assignments: Budget; Environment and Public works; Foreign relations; Judiciary, Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)

In the Senate since 1992. Top 5 Contributors: PG&E corp, DeBartolo Development, Northrop Grumman, Walt Disney Co, Gallo Winery. Top 5 Industries/Interest Groups: lawyers/law firms, retirees, real estate, TV/movies/music, securities & investment. Committee Assignments: Appropriations; Judiciary; Rules and Administration.

Al Franken (D-MN)

First elected to the Senate in 2008. Top 5 Contributors: ActBlue (Democratic PAC), General Electric, University of Minnesota, Time Warner, Moveon.org. Top 5 Industries/Interest Groups: lawyers/law firms, TV/movies/music, Democrats/liberals, Retirees, securities and investment. Committee Assignments: Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

Herb Kohl (D-WI)

Elected to the Senate in 1988. A multimillionaire, owner of the Milwaukee Bucks (basketball). Top 5 Contributors: Herb Kohl for U.S. Senate, RE Loewenberg Capital Management, SC Johnson & Son, Safety-Kleen Systems, Tudor Investment. Top 5 Industries/Interest Groups: Democrats/liberal, finance, chemical and related manufacturing, waste management, securities and investment. Committee Assignments: Appropriations; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Judiciary

Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)

Oldest serving senator, in his fifth non-consecutive term. Top 5 Contributors: ActBlue (Democratic PAC), Vector Group, Carella, Byrne et al, Cantor Fitzgerald LP, Apollo Advisors. Top 5 Industries/Interest Groups: lawyers/law firms, real estate, securities & investment, Democrats/iberals, retirees. Committee Assignments: Appropriations; Commerce, Science and Transportation; Environment and Public Works

Joseph Lieberman (Independent-CT)

In the Senate since 1988, Lieberman became an independent after his defeat in 2006 primary at the hands of anti-war candidate (and IT millionaire) Ned Lamont. Top 5 Contributors: United Technologies, Sempra Energy, Purdue Pharma, UBS AG, Lehman Brothers. Top 5 Industries/Interest Groups: securities & investment, real estate, “pro-Israel,” lawyers/law firms, retirees. Committee Assignments: Armed Services; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (chair); Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Carl Levin (D-MI)

In the Senate since 1979. Top 5 Contributors: Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Ford Motor Co, General Motors, Cerberus Capital Management, Guardsmark LLC. Top 5 Industries/Interest Groups: lawyers/law firms, retirees, “pro-Israel,” real estate, Democrats/liberals. Committee Assignments: Armed Services (chair); Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Bernard Sanders (Independent-VT)

Genuine independent, self-proclaimed socialist, and one-man filibuster, Sanders has been in the Senate since 2006, following 16 years in the House. Top 5 Contributors: eScription Inc, Baron and Budd, Plumbers/Pipefitters Union, Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Communications Workers of America.Top 5 Industries/Interest Groups: retirees, Democrats/liberals, lawyers/law firms, building trade unions, transportation unions. Committee Assignments: Budget, Energy and Natural Resources; Environment and Public Works; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Veterans’ affairs

Charles Schumer (D-NY)

Schumer was first elected in 1998 after serving for 18 years in the House. Top 5 Contributors: Paulson & Co, Paul, Weiss et al, Weitz &Luxenberg, Credit Suisse Group, Ernst & Young. Top 5 Industries/Interest Groups: securities & investment, lawyers/law firms, real estate, finance, TV/music/movies. Committee Assignments: Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Finance; Judiciary; Rules and Administration (chair)

Ron Wyden (D-OR)

In the Senate since 1996. Top 5 Contributors: ActBlue (Democratic PAC), Nike, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Berkshire Hathaway, Foxkiser. Top 5 Industries/Interest Groups: lawyers/law firms, securities & investment, health professionals, real estate, hospitals/nursing homes. Committee Assignments: Budget, Energy and Natural Resources; Finance; Judiciary

Michael Bennet (D-CO)

Bennet’s mother is Jewish, and a Holocaust survivor. Appointed to the Senate in January 2009 to fill the seat left vacant by Ken Salazar when he joined the Obama administration, Bennet won first full term in 2010. Top 5 Contributors: ActBlue (Democratic PAC), Brownstein, Hyatt et al, Blackstone Group, Comcast Corp, Union Pacific Corp. Top 5 Industries/Interest Groups: Democrats/liberals, lawyers/law firms, securities & investment, retirees, real estate. Committee Assignments: Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Gary Ackerman (D-NY)

Top 5 Contributors: Castagna Realty, Associated Capital, Crystal Window and Door Systems, Tilles  Investment, Abrams, Fensterman et al. Top 5 Industries: Real estate, lawyers/law firms, securities and investment, public sector unions, retirees. Committee Assignments: Financial Services, Foreign Affairs

Shelley Berkley (D-NV)

Top 5 Contributors: MGM Resorts, Bergman Walls & Assoc, Wynn Resorts, Harrah’s Entertainment, Apollo Advisors. Top 5 Industries: health professionals, casinos/gambling, lawyers/law firms, “pro-Israel,” real estate. Committee Assignments: Foreign Affairs, Ways and Means

Howard Berman (D-CA)

Top 5 Contributors: Walt Disney, News Corp, Time Warner, National Amusements Inc, Sony. Top 5 Industries: TV/movies/music, lawyers/law firms, “pro-Israel,” retirees, computers/Internet. Committee Assignments: Foreign Affairs (Chairman), Judiciary

Eric Cantor (R-VA)

Minority Whip for the House’s new Republican majority. Top 5 Contributors: Altria Group, Comcast Corp, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Goldman Sachs, KKR & Co. Top 5 Industries: securities & investment, insurance, real estate, health professionals, pharmaceuticals/health products. Committee Assignments: Ways and Means

David Cicilline (D-RI)

Top 5 Contributors: ActBlue (Democratic PAC), Waterson Terminal Services, B&D Holding, Di Marco Drago e C Sapa, Gilbane Inc, Edwards, Angell et al. Top 5 Industries: lawyers/law firms, retirees, real estate, Democrats/liberals, Construction services. Committee Assignments: None yet.

Stephen Cohen (D-TN)

Top 5 Contributors: FedEx, American Crystal Sugar, Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Machinists/Aerospace Workers, UNITE HERE. Top 5 Industries: lawyers/law firms, labor unions, health professionals, air transport, retirees. Committee Assignments: Judiciary, Transportation and Infrastructure.

Susan Davis (D-CA)

Top 5 Contributors: Qualcomm Inc, American Federation of Teachers, General Dynamics, National Assn of Realtors, SAIC Inc. Top 5 Industries: public sector unions, women’s issues, defense electronics, lawyers/law firms, health professionals. Committee Assignments: none yet

Ted Deutch (D-FL)

Top 5 Contributors: Flo-Sun Inc, Lipman law firm, Marc Bell Capital Partners, Sun Capital partners, Akin, Gump et al. Top 5 Industries: lawyers/law firms, real estate, “pro-Israel,” retired, securities & investment.Committee Assignments: None yet.

Eliot Engel (D-NY)

Top 5 Contributors: Verizon, Monroe College, St. Georges University, Passion Growers, American Assn for Justice. Top 5 Industries: health professionals, “pro-Israel,” education, lawyers/law firms, telephone utilities.Committee Assignments: Energy and Commerce, Foreign Affairs

Bob Filner (D-CA)

Top 5 Contributors: Machinists/Aerospace Workers Union, Plumbers/Pipefitters Union, Accurate Engineering, Duty Free Americas, Anakam. Top 5 Industries: health professionals, building trade unions, transportation unions, public sector unions, real estate. Committee Assignments: Transportation and Infrastructure; Veterans’ Affairs (former chair)

Barney Frank (D-MA)

Top 5 Contributors: FMR corp, ActBlue (Democratic PAC), New York Life Insurance, Weiss Capital, Promontory Financial Group. Top 5 Industries: securites & investment, insurance, real estate, lawyers/law firms, retirees.Committee Assignments: Financial Services (former chair)

Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ)

Top 5 Contributors: University of Arizona, EMILY’S List, Lewis & Roca, Grant & Eisenhofer, Boeing Co. Top 5 Industries: retirees, lawyers/law firms, leadership PAC’s, women’s issues, candidate committees. Committee Assignments: Armed Services; Foreign Affairs; Science

Jane Harman (D-CA)

Top 5 Contributors: Northrop Grumman, Raytheon Co, SpaceX, Physical Optics Corp, Blue Dog PAC. Top 5 Industries: “pro-Israel,” lawyers/law firms, retirees, securities & investment, TV/movies/music. Committee Assignments: Energy and Commerce; Homeland Security

Steve Israel (D-NY)

Top 5 Contributors: Rosen Partners, Cablevision Systems, Stidd Systems, Virtu Financial, Estee Lauder Companies. Top 5 Industries: lawyers/law firms, real estate, securities & investment, manufacturing and distributing, health professionals. Committee Assignments: Appropriations

Sander Levin (D-MI)

Top 5 Contributors: Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Honeywell International, American Fed of State/County/Municipal Employees, Northwestern Mutual, Comcast Corp. Top 5 Industries: lawyers/law firms, insurance, health professionals, real estate, hospitals/nursing homes. Committee Assignments: Armed Services (former chair); Homeland Security; Business and Entrepreneurship

Nita Lowey (D-NY)

Top 5 Contributors: JPMorgan Chase, Weiler Arnow Management, Goldman Sachs, American Assn for Justice, American Federation of Teachers. Top 5 Industries: securities & investment, retireees, lawyers/law firms, real estate, “pro-Israel.” Committee Assignments: Appropriations

Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)

Top 5 Contributors: Glenwood Management, Newmark Knight Frank, New York Eye & Ear Infirmary, American Assn for Justice, Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Top 5 Industries: lawyers/law firms, real estate, securities & investment, construction services, transportation unions. Committee Assignments: Judiciary; Transportation and Infrastructure

Jared Polis (D-CO)

Top 5 Contributors: ActBlue (Democratic PAC), Sandler Family Supporting Foundation, Intensity Ventures, Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Del Mar Partnership. Top 5 Industries: Democrats/liberals, securities & investment, retirees, real estate, lawyers/law firms. Committee Assignments: Education and Labor; Rules

Steve Rothman (D-NJ)

Top 5 Contributors: Inserra Supermarkets, BAE Systems, Laborers Union, Teamsters Union, Lockheed Martin.Top 5 Industries: lawyers/law firms, health professionals, defense/aerospace, pharmaceuticals/health products, transportation unions. Committee Assignments: Appropriations, Science

Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)

Top 5 Contributors: American Assn for Justice, Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, American Fed of State/County/Municipal Employees, American Optometric Assn, OB-GYN PAC. Top 5 Industries: lawyers/law firms, health professionals, labor unions, retirees, “pro-Israel.” Committee Assignments: Energy and Commerce

Allyson Schwartz (D-PA)

Top 5 contributors: New York Life Insurance, New Democrat Coalition, Berger and Montague, Hankin Management, Investment Co Insurance. Top 5 Industries: lawyers/law firms, health professionals, securities & investment, women’s issues, pharmaceuticals/health products. Committee Assignments: Budget; Ways and Means

Adam Schiff (D-CA)

Top 5 Contributors: Blue Dog PAC, Honeywell International, Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Operating Engineers Union, Parsons Corp. Top 5 Industries: lawyers/law firms, health professionals, retirees, TV/movies/music, building trade unions. Committee Assignments: Appropriations; Judiciary

Brad Sherman (D-CA)

Top 5 Contributors: ActBlue (Democratic PAC), National Assn of Realtors, Specialty Merchandise Corp, Credit Union National Assn, Carpenters & Joiners Union. Top 5 Industries: real estate, TV/movies/music, lawyers/law firms, building trade unions, retirees. Committee Assignments: Financial services; Foreign Affairs; Judiciary

Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)

Top 5 Contributors: Flo-Sun Inc, Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, National Air Traffic Controllers ASsn, American Fed of State/County/Municipal Employees, American Assn for Justice. Top 5 Industries: lawyers/law firms, health professionals, public sector unions, building trade unions, transportation unions.Committee Assignments: Appropriations; Judiciary

Henry Waxman (D-CA)

Top 5 Contributors: Vivendi, News Corp, Gilead Sciences, American Fed of State/County/Municipal Employees, LHC group. Top 5 Industries: TV/movies/music, health professionals, hospitals/nursing homes, health services/HMOs, lawyers/law firms. Committee Assignments: Energy and Commerce (former chair)

Anthony Weiner (D-NY)

Top 5 Contributors: ActBlue (Democratic PAC), M&R management, Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Mason Tenders District Council of NY, National Community Pharmacists Assn. Top 5 Industries: real estate, lawyers/law firms, securities & investment, Democrats/liberals, TV/movies/movies. Committee Assignments: Energy and Commerce; Judiciary

John Yarmuth (D-KY)

Top 5 Contributors: Kindred Healthcare, Brown-Forman Group, General Electric, National Thoroughbred Racing Assn, Lazard Ltd. Top 5 Industries: retirees, health professionals, lawyers/law firms, public sector unions, hospitals/nursing homes. Committee Assignments: Budget; Ways and Means.

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