Tag Archives: Planned Parenthood

Top Five Private Sectors that Contribute the Most Political Money

It’s not cheap to run a political campaign. Some would say raising money is a politician’s number one job.

In the 2012 elections, over 3.1 billion dollars were raised by politicians and political parties, most of it from businesses and private interests. But which private sectors gave the most money? According to the Center for Responsive Politics, these top five private sectors contributed the most money during the 2011-2012 campaign cycle:

  1. Finance/Insurance/Real Estate—Spent: $658,268,997; 25%* of those funds went to Democrats while 52% was given to Republicans. The financial sector has contributed more money than any other group—with insurance companies, banks, securities and investment firms and real estate companies providing the bulk of that wealth. Government regulations greatly influence these businesses, so it’s no surprise that they donated the most money to politicians, political parties and PACs.
  1. Other—Spent: $554,499,848; 46% Democrats, 42% Republicans. This is a variety of industries that don’t fall under a particular business, labor or ideological group. The largest amounts come from donors listing their occupation as “retired.” Other categories include educators, government employees, nonprofits, armed force members and religious groups.  Groups promoting civil service work, education and nonprofits usually favor Democrats, while religious organizations and retirees are more likely to support the GOP.
  1. Misc. Business—Spent: $459,033,143; 27% Democrats, 40% Republicans. Thirteen industries are counted in this diverse sector, including retail stores, textiles, restaurants, funeral services, chemical companies, gambling and tourism. In the last two decades over 1.4 billion dollars have been spent, slightly favoring donations to Republicans. Of these businesses the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest contributors, spending over $3.78 billion since 1998. Contributions in this sector are more likely to favor whatever political party holds power.
  1. Ideology/Single Issue—Spent: $322,409,523; 43% Democrats, 41% Republicans. This sector is made up of many diverse organizations that focus on a single concern like abortion, gun rights, foreign policy or the environment.  Well known groups like the NRA, Planned Parenthood and Emily’s List are among these groups. In the past two decades their campaign contributions have grown 30 times, greatly increasing their visibility and influence in Washington.  In this sector contributions to political parties rarely switch, single issue groups are more likely to have a liberal or conservative bent. For the last two decades 60% of all contributions have gone to Democrats.
  1. Health—Spent $260,409,805; 34% Democrats, 42% Republicans. Doctor’s Associations, pharmaceutical companies and HMOs are usually the most generous political contributors in this sector. The health sector has traditionally contributed more to the GOP but as Democrats have accumulated power over the past two political cycles, the health sector has gradually started donating more money to them.

*Percentages don’t add up to 100%, as money can go to third party candidates, outside PACs and other spending groups not affiliated with either party.

 

 

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