A new ranking compiled by the nonpartisan “Center for Responsive Politics” shows that in the first quarter of 2013, Senator Mark Pryor is third in the nation for members of Congress receiving donations from lobbyists.
Arkansas’s lone congressional Democrat, who is seeking reelection, has amassed $85,100 from lobbyists so far this year, putting him behind Democrats Max Baucus of Montana and Ed Markey of Massachusetts.
“And then you have Mark Pryor and right after him at almost the same amount Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate Minority Leader from Kentucky. And both of them are running for re-election in 2014 which certainly is one reason at least that lobbyists' money is attracted to them,” says Viveka Novak, editorial director for the research group.
She says lobbyists have made large contributions to Pryor because of his positions on certain influential committees.
“He's a Democrat, so he's in the majority,” says Novak. “He's also on the Appropriations Committee which is a big committee to be on, a pretty plum spot and he's also on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, another one that a lot of lobbyists have clients who have interests before.”
According to the center, lobbyists rank behind lawyers and law firms as top contributors to Pryor since 2008. Pryor has been targeted by conservative groups nationwide who view him as one of the most vulnerable Democrats in Congress.
Also, outside money is already being spent targeting Republican fourth district Congressman Tom Cotton, who is considered a possible candidate to challenge Pryor next year. It’s expected this race will become the most expensive in Arkansas history.