Monday, June 19, 2006

Corporate Money Shifting to Democrats

The Wall Street Journal reports that large business donors are raising the percentage of total donations that go to Democrats. This is clearly a boost to Democratic efforts to expandt their numbers in the House and Senate, and it is not likely to change all that much in the coming months - regardless of whether it's perceived that Republican fortunes are on the upswing. This is because companies have arleady formed the view that Democrats will do well this year, and they are unlikely to take the risk of shifting money away from Democrats again until they have to.

Of course, in the last month before the election, there may be a dramatic shift to Republicans or Democrats, as companies make a late assessment of who will emerge victorious.

Corporate Contributions Shift to the Left
Some Companies See Democrats Having More Sway in Washington After Upcoming Elections
June 19, 2006; Page A4

WASHINGTON -- Some big companies are boosting their share of campaign contributions to Democrats this year, a sign that executives may be starting to hedge their political bets after a decade of supporting congressional Republicans.

The shift includes backers of the Republican Party in the insurance, pharmaceuticals and tobacco industries, such as American International Group Inc., Wyeth, and Reynolds American Inc., according to PoliticalMoneyLine, a nonpartisan tracker of campaign contributions.

Most companies say they give political donations to candidates who support their businesses, regardless of party affiliation. But corporations also tend to channel funds to politicians they think will hold power. So any shift in corporate campaign giving toward Democrats could signal that businesses believe Democrats will have more sway in Washington after the 2006 midterm elections or the 2008 presidential contest.

"The reality is beginning to set in here," says Greg Casey, the head of the Business-Industry Political Action Committee, an organization of businesses dedicated to electing pro-industry candidates. Even if Republicans maintain control of Congress after the November election, their majorities in both chambers are expected to shrink. "What you couldn't get done in 2006 will be much more difficult in 2007," Mr. Casey says.

Mr. Casey's PAC has given Democrats 41% of its $123,000 in donations since the beginning of the 2005-2006 cycle. That is up from 31% in the 2003-2004 cycle, and the highest share since Democrats controlled the White House and both houses of Congress in 1994.

Read the whole piece.

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