Campaigns Tap the Industry for $94M
American Banker (09/08/00) Vol. 2, No. 4 p.1; Rehm, Barbara A.

Political parties' favorite source for campaign contributions are financial services firms--which donate more than any other sector. So far, they have donated $94 million to presidential and congressional candidates in this two-year election cycle, says the Center for Responsive Politics, which compiled Federal Election Commission data for the American Banker newspaper. The financial services sector donated $84.7 million in 1997-98 and $91.4 million in 1995-96. Center executive director Larry Makinson says that the majority of giving is to the Republicans, but the donations are more bipartisan than most other industries. The securities firms are responsible for the increase in donations this cycle, and they have given more than insurers and bankers put together. Makinson says that the financial sector is the leading source of funds for federal candidates. Almost 41 percent of the $28.87 million in donations that the insurance industry has made has been soft money, which is not limited; however, the funds may not be used to get a particular candidate elected. Citigroup has given the most at $2.07 million, a little more than $1.1 million of which was soft money. Aflac is second with $1.452 million; Blue Cross/Blue Shield gave $1.448 million; and American Financial Group and American International Group also gave over $1 million. The majority of all these donations was soft money, and all except Citigroup favored Republicans. Insurers may donate more soft money because many are mutually owned and so do not have to answer to shareholders about political spending. However, industry lobbyist and fundraiser Robert A. Rusbuldt points out that soft money is easier to raise and does not require the solicitation of money from employees. Brokers prefer individual donations, while commercial banks like giving through political action committees.


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