The American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) lobbying efforts have doubled since 2008, according to data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Since 2008, the pro-Israel lobbying group spent a total of $13,619,592 lobbying the U.S. federal government — more than the entire ten year period preceding it starting in 1998.
From 1998 to 2007, AIPAC spent a total of $11,545,017 lobbying Congress.
The lowest year in spending in recent times was 2007 when the committee spent $980,000.
That was the third lowest year according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Then total lobbying efforts doubled the year after to $2,477,091 and remained close to constant ever since 2008.
AIPAC Spending 5 Years Beginning in 2008
2008 – $2,488,091
2009 – $2,769,721
2010 – $2,749,992
2011 – $2,850,400
2012 – $2,761,388
AIPAC Spending 10 Years Preceding 2008
1998 – $970,858
1999 – $850,000
2000 – $1,120,000
2001 – $1,160,000
2002 – $1,160,000
2003 – $1,280,000
2004 – $1,400,000
2005 – $1,574,610
2006 – $1,049,549
2007 – $980,000
AIPAC did not return Politic365’s various inquiries requesting the reason for this dramatic jump in spending.
In Case You Missed It: AIPAC Conference 2013 & Occupy AIPAC 2013
The pro-Israel lobby wrapped up its annual policy conference earlier this month, which featured several members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden as speakers.
Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), spoke at the conference.
Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), the Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, also spoke at the conference.
Speaking for the entire African-American community (“Today in the African American community”), Fudge said that “we hear the call of our Jewish brothers and sisters. We see the challenges Israel faces. And like Rabbi Heschel we will not be silent nor still.”
Fudge said that while a mayor, she took a trip to Tel Aviv through the AIPAC-affiliated American Israel Education Foundation.
“What I learned in Israel became the basis for a number of the votes I was called to make on the House floor,” Fudge said.
After the conference AIPAC supporters spoke to members on Capitol Hill the following Tuesday to “remind them of the importance of a strong U.S.-Israel relationship” according to the AIPAC website.
In the House, AIPAC supports the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act (H.R.850). In the Senate, AIPAC supports the Resolution Backing Israel Against Iran (S. Res. 65). In both sides of Congress, AIPAC supports the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act and $3.1 billion in U.S. security assistance to Israel for FY 2013 and 2014 and $211 million on top of that for the Iron Dome Missile System in Israel.
Members of Congress Seen Coming In and Going Out of AIPAC 2013
Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), House Unmanned Systems Caucus Co-Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), and Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) among others, were seen going into the AIPAC Conference by Politic365.
Women’s anti-war group Code Pink and its co-founder Medea Benjamin were outside the Washington Convention Center protesting the conference, along with many other protestors, ranging from 25-75 supporters. The Orthodox Jewish group Neturei Karta and activists of Palestinian heritage joined Code Pink as well.
“Israel is a terrorist state. Israel is a racist state,” one chant shouted by protesters went.
The bulk of their activities included protesting on a loud mic against Israeli settlements in the West Bank, against a new war with Iran, and, in their view, the dangerous policies and influence of AIPAC on the U.S. Congress. Mention of Rachel Corrie, an American peace activist who was crushed by an Israeli Defense Force bulldozer in the Gaza strip in the early 2000s, was also made (whether Corrie was intentionally killed is disputed).
“You can’t even get a job in Israel if you side with peaceniks,” one male protestor said.
Benjamin also approached House Unmanned Systems Co-Chair McKeon both as he entered the conference and hours later when he exited the conference. She shouted “drone master” as he walked in the conference, and followed him (with other Code Pink members beside her) to his ride as he walked out.
Code Pink didn’t capitalize on all members of Congress walking by.
For example, Rep. Connolly stood on the lower half of the steps right in front of the where the group was protesting for almost 30 seconds. He appeared to be looking out into the street waiting for his transportation to arrive. He was surrounded by no one and visibly in plain sight to the group. The group said nothing to Connolly – a sign that the group couldn’t recognize the congressman.
At other times, the protestors were off the mark identifying government officials.
Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) who is a U.S. Senate hopeful seeking to fill Secretary of State John Kerry’s former seat, was mistaken as a senator.
“Senator Markey are you signing on to [the] Menendez bill?” one protestor shouted into the portable mic. “Please do not sign. We do not need another war!”
“The Democrats and the Republicans were wrong about Iraq. They were wrong about Afghanistan. They’re wrong about Iran,” he continued to shout at Markey.
When Rep. Levin left the building, a male protestor and self-identified Michigander shouted “Detroit doesn’t have housing! Detroit does not have free healthcare! Israel has free healthcare, free education. Why is Detroit suffering, Representative Levin, when you want to give three to six billion dollars every single year? Why is Detroit now being taken over?”
Levin replied: “With the health care act you’re going to have healthcare.” Levin was referring the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
Later, after the shouter shared more complaints, in unison the protestors shouted at Levin “work for us, not for Israel.”
“That’s a great example of how AIPAC has bought our Congress and taken our tax dollars out of cities like Detroit that are dying,” Benjamin said, adding that there’s no money for education and healthcare in Detroit.
“And yet, a congressmen from Detroit comes here to bow down before AIPAC and say ‘of course, we’ll give you three billion dollars. Of course what Israel wants Israel gets,” she continued.
The group had better success with Franken who at least said he would study the bill (S. Res. 65) they wanted him to vote against.
When Benjamin told Franken that “we don’t need another war,” Franken replied that “but we also don’t need a nuclear weapon,” possibly referring to Iran.