It’s all about following the money.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ran an ad on the 2020 Priorities website calling out Missouri’s 2nd District Rep. Ann Wagner. Among other claims, it asserted:
“Wagner’s campaign has taken millions of dollars from special interests, more than almost anyone else in Congress.”
Money plays an ever-growing role in politics, so it’s worth looking into.
Behind the claim
According to Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesperson Courtney Rice, Wagner received more than $3 million from corporate political action committees throughout her political career, which started in the 2012 election cycle when she was elected. In that same vein, Wagner also received more than $2 million “from the broader financial industry,” according to Rice.
We were directed to searches from MapLight and the Center for Responsive Politics, two nonpartisan research groups that track campaign contributions, political donors and the influence of money on politics.
According to MapLight, since 2011 Wagner received $3.1 million from “corporate PACs,” which MapLight defines as when a political action committee identifies its affiliation to a corporation in a “statement of organization” filed with the Federal Election Commission.
The Center for Responsive Politics, also known by its website name OpenSecrets.org, tracks all kinds of PACs, and showed higher numbers. According to the center, Wagner received more than $6.4 million from a variety of PACs, including corporate political action committees. Of that $6.4 million, more than $2.6 million came from PACs affiliated with the finance, insurance and real estate industries.
In addition, she received:
- $226,022 from registered lobbyists.
- $1.7 million from non-PAC sources in the finance, insurance or real estate industries.
- $547,291 from non-PAC law firms and lawyers.
Wagner received $4.3 million from the financial/insurance/real estate sector, as coded by the Center for Responsive Politics from both individuals and political action committees.
Out of the more than 1,500 U.S. representatives listed who have served between 1990 and 2020, Wagner ranked 82nd for most contributions received from this sector.
This is behind other politicians from Missouri, including U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt and U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, who received more than $8 million and $5 million respectively during their terms in Congress.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer received the most money from the financial/insurance/real estate sector, over $28 million.
In the 2020 election cycle, Wagner received $668,560 from corporate PACs, according to MapLight.
She was No. 54 out of 435 members of the House when she received $56,471 from lobbyists this election cycle.
Fellow Republican congressmen from Missouri — Billy Long, Jason Smith and Luetkemeyer — received more from lobbyists than Wagner in this cycle.
From the financial/insurance/real service sector, Wagner was No. 20 out of all House members in this cycle as she received $1,137,674.
In an ad, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said, “Wagner’s campaign has taken millions of dollars from special interests, more than almost anyone else in Congress.”
We can break this claim down into two parts:
Wagner’s campaign has received millions of dollars from special interests.
That amount received is more than almost anyone else in Congress.
It’s true that Wagner’s campaign has received millions of dollars from corporate political action committees, more than the majority of elected representatives and senators. MapLight and the Center for Responsive Politics both confirm this.
However, a significant number of senators and representatives have received more than Wagner from special interest groups, both in this election cycle and over the course of their respective political careers. For these reasons, we rate this claim as Half True.