Fact Check Friday - 7/17/2020

Senator Durbin’s Lobbying Enterprise

Minority Whip Durbin’s lobbying business is a family affair. Did you know Sen. Durbin has been in office for 37 years? Since 2005, he has been the Assistant Democratic Leader. From 2007-2015, he was the Majority Whip. Since 2015 he has been the Minority Whip. I am troubled by the fact that Minority Whip Durbin has used his office to enrich himself, his family, and friends. The facts below will show direct and indirect conflicts of interest and personal enrichment. If you or I did this, we would be in jail!

All in The Family Lobbying:

  • Durbin’s wife began lobbying in 1998 and retired in 2014, Durbin acknowledged occasional overlap in which his wife’s clients received federal help (Chicago Tribune)

  • Two public clients the city of Naperville, and Eastern Illinois University paid Durbin’s wife more than $1 million for lobbying (Chicago Tribune)
  • The Naperville contract stated that Durbin’s wife would represent the city’s interests and act as a liaison with state and federal government officials (Chicago Tribune)

  • The city of Naperville received millions of dollars in grants from the Federal government while she lobbied for them (Chicago Tribune)

  • Durbin awarded millions of dollars to Eastern Illinois University while his wife lobbied for them (Chicago Tribune)

  • Durbin earmarked $150,000 to the American Lung Association while his wife was their lobbyist (Chicago Tribune)

  • Durbin Voted against legislation in 2007 that would have banned spousal lobbying
    (Washington Examiner)

  • Durbin’s former staffer Amy Ford Souders is married to Patrick Souders, Durbin’s Chief of Staff and has her own lobbying company. She has been lobbying for 18 years (Open Secrets)

  • Amy Ford Souders client EPIR, a Defense contractor received a total of $9 million in Earmarked funds from Durbin (Huff Post)

  • Durbin has three family members who were/are registered lobbyists: Paul Durbin (son), Marty Durbin (Nephew), and his wife Loretta Durbin (Family Affair 2014 Report)

  • In 2008, Durbin’s campaign committee reimbursed Durbin $28,438 for travel expenses
    (Family Affair 2014 Report)
  • In 2010, Durbin’s campaign committee reimbursed Durbin $10,501 for travel expenses (
    Family Affair 2014 Report)

  • Durbin’s net worth is more than $2 million, how does that happen when he has been in office for 
    37 years straight?

Senator Durbin is part of the Washington club that has figured out how to make money off his elected office. He has blatantly pursued policies that benefitted his wife, family members, and friends. Ultimately, he was the direct beneficiary because of the money his wife made, he shared in and political contributions from companies he did favors for.

Definitions:

Earmark: Designate funds for a specific purpose. This practice has been somewhat stopped in Congress
because of Members benefiting from organizations they directed taxpayer money to. 

Lobbyist: A person who takes part in an organized attempt to influence legislators.

Conflict of Interest: A situation in which a person is in a position to derive personal benefit from actions or
decisions made in their official capacity.