Camp rakes in big bucks after appointment to supercommittee

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) has raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions since his appointment to the deficit-reduction supercommittee in August.

Camp raised $705,000 in the third quarter of 2011, more than $475,000 of it after receiving an appointment to the supercommittee on Aug. 10, according to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission.

But Camp’s appointment did not provide him the fundraising bonanza that some good-government watchdog groups predicted over the summer.

Camp’s fundraising haul marked his third best quarter since the beginning of 2009.

He raised a whopping $940,000 in the second quarter of this year, spanning the months April, May and June. He collected $780,000 in the third quarter of 2010.

The healthcare industry provided Camp’s biggest source of funds. Healthcare companies and lobbyists hired to represent them gave Camp’s personal re-election fund at least $55,000 since his appointment to the supercommittee, according to fundraising data filed with the FEC.

The total includes $5,000 from the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association’s political action committee, $5,000 from the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ PAC, $5,000 from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and $2,500 from the American Nurses Association.

A spokeswoman for Camp did not respond to a request for comment Friday. 

The supercommittee will likely make significant cuts to government healthcare spending if it reaches agreement on a deficit-reduction package by its Nov. 23 deadline. 

If the panel fails to strike a deal, Medicare would receive an automatic 2-percent cut, as mandated by the bipartisan deal to raise the debt limit in August.

Given the prospect of imminent cuts, healthcare companies and their lobbyists must battle to keep the slashing to a minimum or deflect as much of it as possible to other healthcare sectors.

Camp’s campaign fund also received contributions from lobbyists representing healthcare interests.

William Signer, executive managing director of The Carmen Group, which represents Washington Hospital Center and the Greater New York Hospital Association, according to public records, gave Camp $1,000 on Aug. 22.

A. Bradford Card, managing principal of Dutko Worldwide, which represents the Greater New York Hospital Association and Health Care Service Corporation, gave $500 on Sept. 30, records show.

Camp was one of the first members of the supercommittee to file his third quarter fundraising report.

The Sunlight Foundation, a non-profit good-government watchdog group, reported earlier this month that PACs for the nation’s biggest political donors gave more than $83,000 to ten of the members of the supercommittee or their leadership committees in August, after the panel was formed.

Camp’s leadership PAC collected nearly $25,000 from these PACS during the final 20 days in August, according to Sunlight.

Healthcare special interests have given generously to Camp this election cycle and throughout his career. His re-election account and leadership PAC received $405,000 from health professionals, insurance companies and pharmaceutical and health-product companies during the first six months of 2011, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan group that tracks political contributions.

Over the span of his career, Camp’s campaign and leadership accounts have reaped nearly $2.4 million from those three sectors, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

As chairman of the Ways and Means panel, Camp has jurisdiction over Medicare and Medicaid.

Camp also collected a sizable chunk of money from farm interests, which could lose big in the next round of budget cutting.

“Agriculture deservedly has a bull’s-eye on it,” said Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense.

The House Republican budget blueprint recommended big cuts to agriculture spending. Democratic and Republican leaders have often cited it as an area of common ground in talks to cut spending. 

“It’s ripe,” Ellis said of farm spending. He noted that mandatory farm spending emerged mostly intact after negotiations this summer over raising the debt limit.

“Ag was pretty much unscathed in the debt ceiling deal because it dealt with discretionary funding rather than mandatory,” Ellis said. “It all rests on the supercommittee.”

The problem for agricultural interests is they have few allies on the panel. Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) is viewed as the only staunch defender.

Agriculture PACs gave $12,000 to Camp’s re-election fund since the supercommittee’s formation. Donors included the National Pork Producers, Dairy Farmers of America, the National Milk Producers Federation, the Michigan Farm Bureau, the National Chicken Council, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and the USA Rice Federation PAC.

Camp also received contributions for oil companies, which may lose tens of billions of dollars in federal tax breaks. Democrats have repeatedly demanded their elimination, most recently in the first version of the American Jobs Act.

Chevron Employees PAC, Occidental Petroleum Corporation and Tesoro Petroleum Corporation, among other companies, gave $11,000 to Camp through their PACs.

The corporate jet industry, another top target of President Obama and congressional Democrats, also chipped in. Netjets, Inc. gave $2,500 to Camp’s re-election fund on Sept. 30 through its PAC.