Business-related political action committees contributed almost three times as much money to members of the House and Senate tax-writing committees in the first half of 1985 as they did during the same period in 1983, according to a Common Cause report released yesterday.
Contributions from insurance-related PACs made up one-fifth of the total and accounted for the largest set of contributions from one industry, the report said. Insurance PAC contributions to members of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees rose from $156,265 in the first six months of 1983 to $533,346 in the first six months of 1985, a more than threefold increase.
Common Cause, which based its study on information filed with the Federal Election Commission, has not yet compiled contributions from other industries.
Altogether, business PACs gave House and Senate tax writers $2.8 million from Jan. 1 through June 30, 1985, a period when major tax revision proposals moved to the top of the agendas of the two committees. That accounted for 74 percent of the money those members received from all PACs, the study said. In 1983, business PACs gave a total of $944,133.
Four Ways and Means members, Reps. Bill Archer (R-Tex.), Philip M. Crane (R-Ill.), Willis D. Gradison (R-Ohio) and Andrew Jacobs (D-Ind.), and one Senate Finance member, Sen. David Boren (D-Okla.), do not accept PAC contributions.
Common Cause President Fred Wertheimer said in a statement that the insurance industry is working to save several insurance-related tax provisions from elimination as Congress begins revising the tax code. Among them: the tax-free status of the increase in value in life-insurance policies and of employer-paid health insurance premiums.
"Members of the Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees have a special obligation to the public to prevent the industry from obtaining preferred tax treatment at the expense of the rest of the taxpayers," Wertheimer said.
Five of the top 10 overall PAC contributors were from the insurance industry, the study said.