Long before he made the words “drain the swamp” ubiquitous in 2016, Donald Trump bragged that his experience buying political influence gave him special insight into Washington’s culture of corruption.

He explained the irony, bluntly, during the first Republican primary debate:

“Two months ago I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And you know what, when I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them. They are there for me. That’s a broken system.” — Donald J. Trump, August 7, 2015<

This description of DC’s swampy machinations is apt. In Congress, members of powerful committees routinely rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars for their campaigns from the special interests they’re charged with regulating. During session, lobbyists frequently raise money for the very politicians who vote on their legislation. And like a vibrant ecosystem, once lawmakers and staffers have completed their time in public service, they often enter lucrative careers as lobbyists and consultants for special interests — perpetuating the endless cycle of money and influence in DC’s own circle of life.

While there is nothing illegal about any of this, there is something undeniably…swampy. Especially when members of congress are, quite literally, forced into raising vast sums of money each election cycle. In a revealing New York Times op ed announcing his 2016 retirement from Congress, Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) lamented the never-ending money race and recalled the time he was told “if I didn’t raise at least $10,000 a week I wouldn’t be back.” Similarly, according to an in-depth CBS’ 60 Minutes report, Congressman David Jolly (R-FL) was instructed to raise a minimum of $18,000 per day from “sweat shop phone booths” while Congress was in session. Amid increasing pressure for politicians to raise funds for endless reelection campaigns, it’s no wonder they’re willing to take vast sums regardless of any apparent — or real — conflicts of interest. In 2016 alone, some politicians relied on a single industry sector for as much as 60% of their campaign fundraising.

“Swampy” may be a vivid, and en vogue, way to describe Washington DC, but it’s not a very measurable term: the nature of this political back-scratching makes it difficult to track or quantify. That is until now.

In an effort to shed light on the swamp during the first 100 days of a Trump Administration, we’ve analyzed all publicly available data on the political contributions received by members of congress to create specific metrics of swampiness:

Lobbyist ratio — the proportion of contributions from self-described “lobbyists” relative to other members of Congress.

Conflict of interest donors — the amount of money contributed to each member since 2010 from industries relevant to their committee assignments and bill sponsorships.

For ease of comparison, and to enable an overall ranking of all members of congress, each metric is normalized and expressed relative to the average for members of congress. We’ve also left off high ranking members of leadership from both parties who, by virtue of their posts, routinely top the charts for both of these indices.

By raising more money from everyday citizens, elected officials can become less reliant on lobbyists and special interests. It’s one of the reasons Crowdpac exists — to get more citizens involved in the process. To that end, we’ve also created a list of the least swampy members in both chambers who have raised the most money from small dollar donors.

At a time when political discourse is murkier than ever, we hope this data-driven guide to the swamp can shed light on the draining that needs to be done.

(To access a PDF with a full dataset and methodology, click here.)

TOP 10 SWAMPIEST SENATORS— 2017

1) Michael Bennet (D-CO)Senator Bennet has received 7.1 times more lobbyist contributions than the average member of congress, and has raised $2.7 million from interests in the finance, healthcare, energy, and agriculture sectors since 2010 which actively lobby on legislation he authors or before committees he sits on.

2) Rob Portman (R — OH)Senator Portman receives 6 times more lobbyist contributions than the average member of congress, and has raised $1.5 million from interests in the finance and energy sectors since 2010 which actively lobby on legislation he authors or before committees he sits on.

3) Johnny Isakson (R-GA)Senator Isakson has received 5.5 times more lobbyist contributions than the average member of congress, and has raised $1.4 million from interests in the finance, real estate, food, agriculture, and energy sectors since 2010 which actively lobby on legislation he authors or before committees he sits on.

4) Richard Burr (R-NC)Senator Burr has received 4.7 times more lobbyist contributions than the average member of congress, and has raised $1.3 million from interests in the finance, food, healthcare, and agriculture sectors since 2010 which actively lobby on legislation he authors or before committees he sits on.

5) Roy Blunt (R-MO)Senator Blunt has received 5.5 times more lobbyist contributions than the average member of congress, and has raised $590,000 from interests in the agriculture, defense, telecoms and pharma sectors since 2010 which actively lobby on legislation he authors or before committees he sits on.

6) Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)Senator Gillibrand has received 4.3 times more lobbyist contributions than the average member of congress, and has raised $1.4 million from interests in the finance, healthcare and pharma sectors since 2010 which actively lobby on legislation she authors or before committees she sits on.

7) Pat Toomey (R-PA)Senator Toomey has received 2.6 times more lobbyist contributions than the average member of congress, and has raised $3.4 million from interests in the finance, infrastructure and pharma sectors since 2010 which actively lobby on legislation he authors or before committees he sits on.

8) John Cornyn (R-TX)Senator Cornyn has received 2.7 times more lobbyist contributions than the average member of congress, and has raised $2.6 million from interests in the finance, energy, agriculture, legal, and defense sectors since 2010 which actively lobby on legislation he authors or before committees he sits on.

9) Ron Wyden (D-OR)Senator Wyden has received 4.4 times more lobbyist contributions than the average member of congress, and has raised $1.2 million from interests in the finance, healthcare and energy sectors since 2010 which actively lobby on legislation he authors or before committees he sits on.

10) Bill Cassidy (R-LA)Senator Cassidy has received 3.7 times more lobbyist contributions than the average member of congress, and has raised $1.9 million from interests in the finance, healthcare, agriculture, real estate, and construction sectors since 2010 which lobby on legislation he authors or before committees he sits on.

TOP 10 SWAMPIEST MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE — 2017

1) Steve Scalise (R — LA)Congressman Scalise receives 4.1 times more lobbyist contributions than the average member of congress and has raised $776,000 from interests in the energy, telecoms and technology sectors since 2010 which actively lobby on legislation he authors or before committees he sits on.

2) Frank Pallone (D — NJ)Congressman Pallone receives 4.3 times more lobbyist contributions than the average member of congress and has raised $452,000 from interests in the energy, telecoms and healthcare sectors since 2010 which actively support and oppose legislation before committees he sits on.

3) William Shuster (R — PA)Congressman Shuster receives 2.5 times more lobbyist contributions than the average member of congress and has raised $1.1 million from interests in the infrastructure and defense sectors since 2010 which actively lobby on legislation he authors or before committees he sits on.

4) Patrick Tiberi (R — OH)Congressman Tiberi receives 2.5 times more lobbyist contributions than the average member of congress and has raised $879,000 from interests in the finance, healthcare and defense sectors since 2010 which actively lobby on legislation he authors or before committees he sits on.

5) Fred Upton (R — MI)Congressman Upton receives 1.8 times more lobbyist contributions than the average member of congress and has raised $1.1 million from interests in the energy, healthcare, food, and real estate sectors since 2010 which actively lobby on legislation he authors or before committees he sits on.

6) Carolyn Maloney (D — NY)Congresswoman Maloney receives 1.6 times more lobbyist contributions than the average member of congress and has raised $1.1 million from interests in the finance sector since 2010 which actively lobbies on legislation she authors or before committees she sits on.

7) John Larson (D — CT)Congressman Larson receives 3.1 times more lobbyist contributions than the average member of congress and has raised $413,000 from interests in the defense and energy sectors since 2010 which actively lobby on legislation he authors or before committees he sits on.

8) Devin Nunes (R — CA)Congressman Nunes has raised $1.6 million from interests in the agriculture, finance, defense, energy, and healthcare sectors since 2010 which actively lobby on legislation he authors or before committees he sits on.

9) Kevin Brady (R — TX)Congressman Brady receives 1.7 times more lobbyist contributions than the average member of congress and has raised $682,000 from interests in the healthcare and finance sectors since 2010 which actively lobby on legislation he authors or before committees he sits on.

10) Denny Heck (D — WA)Congressman Heck receives 1.7 times more lobbyist contributions than the average member of congress and has raised $682,000 from interests in the finance and healthcare sectors since 2010 which actively lobby on legislation he authors or before committees he sits on.

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