Under the Influence:
A compilation of Alcoholic-Beverage Industry Political Contributions to Members of the Appropriations Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1997-1998

Introduction
While few in politics claim that political contributions "buy" votes, almost everyone would agree that political contributions create access for the donor to express his or her ideas to a politician, and they often help produce an "open mind" that is conducive to a sympathetic understanding of the donor's views.

The House Appropriations Committee will soon consider subcommittee-passed language that would permit the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the "Drug Czar," General Barry McCaffrey, to begin the careful process of adding underage-drinking prevention messages to the other drug prevention messages in the "National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign." That language was added in an amendment sponsored by Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA), who were responding to the March 25, 1999 testimony of General McCaffrey that his office lacked the necessary statutory authority to include underage drinking prevention messages in the media campaign.

The Roybal-Allard/Wolf provision is opposed by the alcoholic-beverage industry, whose forces are led by the National Beer Wholesalers Association and include the Wine Institute, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, and various individual alcohol producers. Congresswoman Anne Northup (R-KY) has announced her intention to offer an amendment before the full Appropriations Committee that would delete the Roybal-Allard/Wolf provision and continue to bar ONDCP from undertaking even preparatory work to begin developing underage-drinking prevention messages.

The alcoholic-beverage industry has been a major campaign contributor to some of the members of the Appropriations Committee. CSPI has compiled information on campaign contributions to that committee based on Federal Election Commission records reported on the Internet by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Alcohol-Industry Contributions
The alcoholic-beverage industry contributed a total of $294,690 to members of the House Appropriations Committee during the last election cycle (See Tables 3A and 3B). On average, members of the committee received $4,829 from alcoholic-beverage industry sources during the 1997-98 time period. Congresswoman Anne Northup received by far the most: $38,264 (See Table 1). That was 1.8 times as much alcohol industry money as the second highest recipient, and 13% of the contributions to the entire 61-member Appropriations Committee by alcoholic-beverage sources. Her contributions included $10,000 from the National Beer Wholesalers Association, $1,614 from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, as well as $10,000 from the Kentucky-based Brown-Forman Corporation (maker of such liquor brands as Jack Daniels, Southern Comfort, Early Times Kentucky Whiskey, as well as Fetzer and Korbel wines).

Table 1
Alcoholic-beverage Industry Contributions to Congresswoman Anne Northup (1997-98)

Anne Meagher Northup (KY)

TOTAL $38,264

Individuals from the alcohol industry

$10,150

Brown-Forman Corp.

$10,000

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$10,000

Distilled Spirits Council

$1,614

National Association of Beverage Retailers

$1,500

Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America

$1,500

Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine

$1,000

Jim Beam Brands

$1,000

Coors Brewing

$500

Heublein Distributors

$500

Joseph E. Seagram & Sons

$500

Three of the eight top recipients of alcoholic-beverage industry money (including Rep. Northup) are members of the Treasury, Postal and General Government Appropriations subcommittee, which approved the Roybal-Allard provision during the May 14 committee markup of the Fiscal 2000 appropriations measure (See Table 2). Rep. Northup was absent for the vote, while the other two major recipients [Chairman Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) and Rep. Michael Forbes (R-NY)] opposed the effort to allow ONDCP to combat underage drinking.

Table 2
Top Recipients of Alcohol Industry Contributions -- House Appropriations Committee

Member Name

Total Contribution

Anne Meagher Northup (R-KY)

$38,264

Allen Boyd (D-FL)

$21,500

Michael P. Forbes (R-NY)

$19,250

Tom DeLay (R-TX)

$19,000

Kay Granger (R-TX)

$15,250

Jim Kolbe (R-AZ)

$13,000

Henry Bonilla (R-TX)

$11,500

George R. Nethercutt (R-WA)

$11,250

 

Alcohol-Industry Contributions to House Appropriations Committee

Table 3A - Republican Members

Member

Total ETOH

Company

Amount of Contribution

Robert Aderholt (AL)

$9,500

Philip Morris (Miller Brewing)

$9,500

Henry Bonilla (TX)

$11,500

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$4,000

Phillip Morris (Miller Brewing)

$3,500

Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America

$1,500

Coors Brewing

$1,000

Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine

$500

Distilled Spirits Council

$500

Heublein Inc.

$500

Sonny Callahan (AL)

$500

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$500

Randy Cunningham (CA)

$2,000

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$1000

Philip Morris (Miller Brewing)

$1,000

Tom DeLay (TX)

$19,000

Philip Morris (Miller Brewing)

$8,000

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$4,000

Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America

$4,000

Joseph E. Seagram & Sons

$2,000

Heublein Distributors

$1,000

Jay Dickey (AR)

$0

Does not accept PAC money

Jo Ann Emerson (MO)

$8,000

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$7,500

Coors Brewing

$500

Michael P. Forbes (NY)

$19,250

Individuals from the alcohol industry

$6,250

Philip Morris (Miller Brewing)

$5,500

Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine

$1,000

Canandaigua Wine

$1,000

Distilled Spirits Council

$1,000

Joseph E. Seagram & Sons

$1,000

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$1,000

Brown-Forman

$500

Heublein Distributors

$500

Heublein Inc.

$500

Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America

$500

Wine Institute

$500

Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ)

$1,000

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$1,000

Kay Granger (TX)

$15,250

Individuals from the alcohol industry

$10,250

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$4,000

Coors Brewing

$1,000

David Hobson (OH)

$3,000

Philip Morris (Miller Brewing)

$2,000

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$1,000

Ernest Istook (OK)

$2,000

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$1,500

Philip Morris (Miller Brewing)

$500

Jack Kingston (GA)

$2,500

Philip Morris (Miller Brewing)

$2,000

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$500

Joe Knollenberg (MI)

$1,500

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$1,000

Philip Morris (Miller Brewing)

$500

Jim Kolbe (AZ)

$13,000

Individuals from the alcohol industry

$5,500

Philip Morris (Miller Brewing)

$2,000

Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America

$2,000

Anheuser-Busch

$1,000

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$1,000

Coors Brewing

$500

Heublein Inc.

$500

Wine Institute

$500

Tom Latham (IA)

$11,000

Philip Morris (Miller Brewing)

$6,000

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$3,000

Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America

$1,000

Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine

$500

Heublein

$500

Jerry Lewis (CA)

$9,000

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$4,000

Philip Morris (Miller Brewing)

$2,500

Wine Institute

$1,500

Coors Brewing

$1,000

Dan Miller (FL)

$2,000

Joseph E. Seagram & Sons

$1,000

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$1,000

George R. Nethercutt (WA)

$11,250

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$10,000

Coors Brewing

$1,000

Individuals from the alcohol Industry

$250

Anne Meagher Northup (KY)

$38,264

Individuals from the alcohol industry

$10,150

Brown-Forman Corp.

$10,000

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$10,000

Distilled Spirits Council

$1,614

National Association of Beverage Retailers

$1,500

Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America

$1,500

Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine

$1,000

Jim Beam Brands

$1,000

Coors Brewing

$500

Heublein Distributors

$500

Joseph E. Seagram & Sons

$500

Ron Packard (CA)

$3,500

Wine Institute

$1,500

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$1,000

Individuals from the alcohol industry

$1,000

John E. Peterson (PA)

$1,000

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$1,000

John Edward Porter (IL)

$500

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$500

Ralph Regula (OH)

$0

Does not accept PAC money

Harold Rogers (KY)

$7,000

Philip Morris (Miller Brewing)

$2,000

Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine

$1,000

Brown-Forman Corp.

$1,000

Heublein Distributors

$1,000

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$1,000

Distilled Spirits Council

$500

Jim Beam Brands

$500

Joe Skeen (NM)

$2,000

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$1,000

Anheuser-Busch

$500

Stimson Lane Ltd

$500

John E. Sununu (NH)

$5,000

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$5,000

Charles H. Taylor

$5,000

Philip Morris (Miller Brewing)

$3,000

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$2,000

Todd Tiahrt (KS)

$8,500

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$6,000

Philip Morris (Miller Brewing)

$2,500

James T. Walsh (NY)

$4,000

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$2,000

Canadaigua Wine

$1,500

Robert Mondavi Corp.

$500

Zach Wamp (TN)

$0

Does not accept PAC money

Roger F. Wicker (MS)

$5,000

Philip Morris (Miller Brewing)

$2,500

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$1,500

Coors Brewing

$1,000

Frank R. Wolf (VA)

$0

No donations from alcohol industry PAC's

Bill Young (FL)

$1,000

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$1,000

Source: Center for Responsive Politics

 

Table 3B - Democratic Members

Member

Total

Company

Amount of Contribution

Allen Boyd (FL)

$21,500

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$15,000

Philip Morris (Miller Brewing)

$6,000

Individuals from the alcohol industry

$500

James E. Clyburn (SC)

$4,000

Philip Morris (Miller Brewing)

$3,500

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$500

Bud Cramer (AL)

$3,500

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$2,500

Philip Morris (Miller Brewing)

$1,000

Norman Dicks (WA)

$0

No donations from alcohol industry PAC's

Julian C. Dixon (CA)

$0

No donations from alcohol industry PAC's

Chet Edwards (TX)

$2,500

Philip Morris (Miller Brewing)

$1,500

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$1,000

Sam Farr (CA)

$4,500

Individuals from the alcohol industry

$3,000

Brown-Forman

$500

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$500

Wine Institute

$500

Maurice D. Hinchey (NY)

$0

No donations from alcohol industry PAC's

Steny H. Hoyer (MD)

$9,500

Philip Morris (Miller Brewing)

$3,500

Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America

$2,500

Joseph E. Seagram & Sons

$1,000

Wine Institute

$1,000

Anheuser-Busch

$500

Distilled Spirits Council

$500

Heublein Inc.

$500

Jesse Jackson Jr. (IL)

$3,500

Philip Morris (Miller Brewing)

$3,000

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$500

Marcy Kaptur (OH)

$0

No donations from alcohol industry PAC's

Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (MI)

$1,000

Philip Morris (Miller Brewing)

$1,000

Nita M. Lowey (NY)

$0

No donations from alcohol industry PAC's

Carrie P. Meek (FL)

$1,496

Philip Morris (Miller Brewing)

$1,000

Distilled Spirits Council

$496

Alan B. Mollohan (WV)

$2,500

Philip Morris (Miller Brewing)

$2,000

National Beer Wholesaler Association

$500

James P. Moran (VA)

$0

No donations from alcohol industry PAC's

John P. Murtha (PA)

$3,000

Philip Morris (Miller Brewing)

$2,000

Anheuser-Busch

$1,000

David Obey (WI)

$3,000

National Beer Wholesalers of America

$1,000

Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America

$1,000

Southern Wine & Spirits

$500

Wine Institute

$500

John W. Olver (MA)

$0

No donations from alcohol industry PAC's

Ed Pastor (AZ)

$1,350

Miller Brewing

$1,000

Anheuser Busch

$350

Nancy Pelosi (CA)

$5,500

Wine Institute

$5,000

Joseph E. Seagram & Sons

$500

David E. Price (NC)

$5,500

Philip Morris (Miller Brewing)

$4,500

National Beer Wholesaler Association

$1,000

Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA)

$0

No donations from alcohol industry PAC's

Martin Olav Sabo (MN)

$0

No donations from alcohol industry PAC's

Jose E. Serrano (NY)

$0

No donations from alcohol industry PAC's

Peter J. Visclosky (IN)

$250

National Association of Beverage Retailers

$250

Source: Center for Responsive Politics

 

Table 4
Total Alcohol Industry Political Contributions to House Appropriations Members

 

Total Contributions

Average Contribution

All Committee Members

$294,610

$4,830

Republicans

$222,014

$6,530

Democrats

$72,596

$2,689

Source: Center for Responsive Politics

In several respects, this compilation of alcoholic-beverage political contributions to the House Appropriations Committee underestimates the financial -- and other -- influence that industry may have on members of Congress and on the political process. It reflects just the tip of the iceberg.

In addition to direct contributions to members of the Appropriations committee, the alcoholic- beverage industry makes indirect contributions of several types. Alcohol producers and trade associations often provide free or discounted alcoholic-beverages for fundraisers and other events held by, for, or on behalf of, members of Congress. Beer and wine tasting on Capitol Hill are among the most popular social events for many members and their staffs. Those donations are often not reflected in the FEC reports.

Industry representatives also provide other important adjunct fundraising assistance. For example, as reported in The Washington Post on Wednesday, June 9, 1999, the National Beer Wholesalers Association and the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America hosted a breakfast fundraiser for Senator Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) as a way of expressing appreciation of his efforts in leading Senate opposition to Internet alcohol sales. At such an event, many of the actual contributions come from sources other than the alcoholic-beverage industry, but the sponsors certainly score political points for making the arrangements.

Finally, major PACs such as the National Beer Wholesalers Association make large contributions to campaign organizations and congressional leadership PACs, in addition to direct contributions to members. Alcoholic-beverage interests also provide substantial support to both national political parties through "soft-money" contributions. The largest "soft-money" giver during the last election cycle was Philip Morris (which owns Miller Brewing), which gave $2,446,316 to the two national parties. Joseph E. Seagram & Sons gave $753,846 and Anheuser-Busch, the world's largest brewer, gave $501,907 in soft money during the 1997-98 election cycle. Those contributions may appear somewhat remote from the individual votes of members of the Appropriations committee, but they may influence the direction congressional leadership provides to members of their parties.

Table 5
Five Largest Alcohol-Industry PAC contributors to Members
of the House Appropriations Committee

PAC Name

Total Contributed

Number members receiving money

National Beer Wholesalers Association

$ 99,500

37

Philip Morris (Miller Brewing)

$83,000

28

Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America

$14,000

8

Brown-Forman Corporation

$12,000

4

The Wine Institute

$11,000

8

June 15, 1999