Robert Novak

Rangel reported contributions of $2.7 million for the first three quarters of the 2007 election off-year. His Republican predecessor, Rep. Bill Thomas, raised $3.8 million for his entire six years as chairman. The previous Republican chairman, Rep. Bill Archer, took in less than $1 million in his six years.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the largest contributors to Rangel this year have been Citigroup, $59,950; MetLife, $50,500; and JPMorgan Chase, $37,600. MetLife is a major corporate opponent of repealing the estate tax, whose retention is firmly supported by Rangel.


In the closing hours of the 2007 congressional session, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to permit a vote on two amendments to the omnibus appropriations bill proposed by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn that would have transferred funds earmarked for special projects by individual members of Congress to wider uses.

One Coburn amendment would have redirected earmarked money to improving deficient roads and bridges, typified by the interstate highway bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis that collapsed Aug. 1. His other proposal would have shifted funding to health care for women and children.

A footnote: Among thousands of earmarks approved in the omnibus bill was $200,000 for a "post office museum" in downtown Las Vegas requested by Nevada's Sen. Reid.

Robert Novak

Robert Novak (1931-2009) was a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report.

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