Seventy-two members of Congress have signed a letter to President Obama, telling him to issue an Executive Order preventing federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity — just as Lyndon Johnson did in 1965 prohibiting discrimination on the basis of “race, color, religion, sex or national origin.”
On Thursday we began launching calls into the offices of members of Congress who have not signed the letter.
We decided to tally the money these AWOL members have taken from LGBT interests such as the Human Rights Campaign, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and others for their support of LGBT issues over the years.
Topping the list of non-signers is Leonard Boswell, who has hauled in $48,045. Close on his heels is Rick Larsen with $36,550, Ed Perlmutter with $28,808, Joe Crowley with $28,325 and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz with $24,550. In total there are 33 Democrats who have taken money for their support of LGBT issue who are no-shows on the letter.
Maplight indicates $4,723,679 in contributions from LGBT interests to Democratic and Republican members of Congress since 2000, though the numbers are no doubt much higher — many individual contributions are not categorized with the FEC.
Many of these representatives are members of the Equality Caucus and/or co-sponsors of ENDA, and they raise considerable sums by promising support for LGBT issues. But now that President Obama wants to take a dive on his 2008 campaign promise to support ENDA, they do not want to put pressure on him to do so and are nowhere to be found.
A 2011 report by the Center for American Progress concludes that “gay and transgender employees continue to face alarmingly high rates of discrimination in the workplace.” There is no good reason for members of Congress who treat LGBT issues like a cash cow when it comes to election time to be AWOL when their support is needed.
|NC-1||G. K. Butterfield||$7,050||202-225-3101|
|Virgin Islands||Christensen, Donna M.||$6,550||202-225-1790|
|American Samoa||Faleomavaega, Eni F. H.||$25||202-225-8577|