Top Corporate PACs Favored GOP

Campaign buttons for both parties, over the capitol and money. AP / CBS

The top-giving corporate political action committees didn't hedge their bets in the fall elections despite the narrow division between the GOP and Democrats in Congress.

They favored Republican candidates 10-to-1.

Of 268 corporate PACs that donated $100,000 or more to presidential and congressional candidates from January 2003 through the middle of last month, 245 gave the majority of their contributions to GOP hopefuls, according to an analysis released Wednesday by the nonpartisan Political Money Line campaign finance tracking service.

Twenty-three corporate PACs made more than half their donations to Democratic candidates, according to the study, based on the most recent campaign finance reports available.

Corporate PACs are financed with limited donations from company employees, who can each give up to $5,000 per year. In turn, the PACs can donate up to $5,000 for a primary and another $5,000 for the general election to each federal candidate they support.

No money from the corporation itself can go to congressional or presidential candidates.

The five most Republican-leaning corporate PACs include:

  • Cooper Industries PAC: All $208,000 to Republicans. Cooper Industries, based in Houston, makes hardware and electrical and automotive products.

  • Flowers Industries PAC: All $131,500 to GOP candidates. Flowers Industries, a bakery company, is based in Thomasville, Ga.

  • The PAC of Phillips International, a publishing company based in Potomac, Md.: All $113,500 to Republicans.

  • Harris Corp. Federal PAC: $168,500 to Republicans, $4,000 to Democrats. Harris, based in Melbourne, Fla., is an international communications equipment company.

  • Illinois Tool Works for Better Government Committee: $139,500 to Republicans, $5,000 to Democrats.

    The five most Democratic-leaning PACs include:

  • Cablevision Systems Corp. PAC: $88,000 to Democrats, $24,500 to Republicans.

  • The PAC of MWH Americas, a construction and engineering firm based in Broomfield, Colo.: $69,334 to Democrats, $48,000 to Republicans.

  • The PAC of Chicago-based LaSalle Bank Corp. and its Standard Federal Bank subsidiary: $65,250 to Democrats, $47,500 to GOP candidates.

  • New York Mercantile Exchange PAC: $200,500 to Democrats, $148,000 to Republicans.

  • Harrah's Entertainment casino company PAC: $75,767 to Democrats, $57,793 to Republicans.

    Republicans increased their majorities in the Nov. 2 elections.

    When new lawmakers take office in January, the Senate will have 54 Republicans, 44 Democrats and one independent. Currently there are 51 Republicans, 48 Democrats and one independent.

    The House breakdown after the November elections is 231 Republicans, 200 Democrats and one independent, with three races not yet decided. Before the elections, there were 227 Republicans, 205 Democrats, one independent and two vacancies.
    • Tricia McDermott

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