Corporations Influence on Elections

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Sinistron, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. Sinistron Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Hello,

    New to this forum and I had a simple question:

    What percentage of campaign contributions/donations come from corporations? In 2010? So far, in 2011? I'm looking for any good statistics.

    Is it even possible to know? How transparent are corporate campaign finance activities?

    I've tried Googling the hell out of this topic, but haven't yielded any figures at all. I'd appreciate it if someone could provide me with relevant info or point me in the right direction.

    Thanks!
  2. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Are you looking for corporate donations for a particular candidate or group of candidates, or Congress (with the Presidency) as a whole?
  3. Sinistron Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 31, 2010
  4. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    I couldn't find that exactly, but I did find related information that you might find interesting.









    Top Lobbyist Spenders

    US Chamber of Commerce
    $785,065,680

    American Medical Assn
    $259,467,500

    General Electric
    $257,590,000

    AARP
    $210,182,064

    Pharmaceutical Rsrch & Mfrs of America
    $209,203,920

    American Hospital Assn
    $208,993,836

    Blue Cross/Blue Shield
    $174,370,552

    National Assn of Realtors
    $172,231,698

    Northrop Grumman
    $167,645,253

    Exxon Mobil
    $166,722,742

    Verizon Communications
    $161,234,841

    Edison Electric Institute
    $156,585,999

    Business Roundtable
    $153,620,000

    Boeing Co
    $151,704,310

    Lockheed Martin
    $146,267,373

    AT&T Inc
    $130,749,336

    Southern Co
    $126,280,694

    General Motors
    $123,679,170

    PG&E Corp
    $119,580,000

    Pfizer Inc
    $118,227,268




    Top Sectors for Lobbying

    Health
    $4,749,776,604

    Finance/Insur/RealEst
    $4,746,995,354

    Misc Business
    $4,732,536,268

    Communic/Electronics
    $3,949,818,285

    Energy/Nat Resource
    $3,503,645,758

    Other
    $2,549,546,632

    Transportation
    $2,464,176,659

    Ideology/Single-Issue
    $1,620,025,838

    Agribusiness
    $1,410,875,491

    Defense
    $1,368,771,092

    Construction
    $525,117,038

    Labor
    $479,320,607

    Lawyers & Lobbyists
    $375,399,222





    Top Industries for Lobbying

    Pharmaceuticals/Health Products
    $2,266,139,745

    Insurance
    $1,616,959,099

    Electric Utilities
    $1,516,839,891

    Business Associations
    $1,258,419,984

    Computers/Internet
    $1,234,630,107

    Oil & Gas
    $1,186,183,312

    Misc Manufacturing & Distributing
    $1,038,344,012

    Education
    $1,025,941,209

    Hospitals/Nursing Homes
    $973,203,605

    Civil Servants/Public Officials
    $932,031,991

    TV/Movies/Music
    $906,459,159

    Real Estate
    $903,786,552

    Securities & Investment
    $874,219,868

    Health Professionals
    $860,306,133

    Air Transport
    $812,568,687

    Misc Issues
    $720,039,431

    Telephone Utilities
    $696,033,048

    Automotive
    $675,761,582

    Telecom Services & Equipment
    $647,274,031

    Defense Aerospace
    $591,285,541




    Top Issues for Lobbyists (in # of reports)

    Fed Budget & Appropriations
    48,993

    Health Issues
    22,664

    Taxes
    21,140

    Defense
    20,706

    Transportation
    17,647

    Energy & Nuclear Power
    14,190

    Environment & Superfund
    13,065

    Education
    12,915

    Trade
    12,127

    Medicare & Medicaid
    11,035








    Contributions by Sector to the 2012 Presidential Election
    (Sector---Total---To Democrats---To Republicans


    Agribusiness
    $1,165,963
    $296,674
    $869,289

    Communications/Electronics
    $4,484,629
    $2,956,215
    $1,528,414

    Construction
    $2,408,811
    $563,034
    $1,845,777

    Defense
    $274,264
    $111,745
    $162,519

    Energy & Natural Resources
    $2,786,605
    $421,113
    $2,365,492

    Finance, Insurance & Real Estate
    $16,835,938
    $4,188,924
    $12,647,014

    Health
    $4,104,592
    $1,719,547
    $2,385,045

    Lawyers & Lobbyists
    $7,350,036
    $4,178,970
    $3,171,066

    Transportation
    $1,419,759
    $148,974
    $1,270,785

    Misc Business
    $16,400,883
    $6,818,104
    $9,582,779

    Labor
    $13,489
    $13,087
    $402

    Ideological/Single-Issue
    $1,653,614
    $247,125
    $1,406,489

    Other
    $20,037,742
    $11,381,050
    $8,656,692





    Top Industries to 2012 Presidential Candidates


    Retired
    $14,917,905

    Misc Business
    $9,745,867

    Securities & Investment
    $7,026,179

    Lawyers/Law Firms
    $6,762,227

    Real Estate
    $4,081,038

    Homemakers/Non-income earners
    $3,347,396

    Education
    $2,733,064

    Misc Finance
    $2,564,867

    Business Services
    $2,366,733

    Computers/Internet
    $2,114,674

    Health Professionals
    $1,942,117

    Hedge Funds
    $1,770,675

    TV/Movies/Music
    $1,379,838

    Oil & Gas
    $1,375,653

    Civil Servants/Public Officials
    $1,339,959

    Misc Manufacturing & Distributing
    $1,245,424

    Insurance
    $1,238,761

    Commercial Banks
    $1,155,051

    Candidate Committees
    $982,887

    General Contractors
    $849,874






    Top Earmarks, by
  5. Jedi Merkurian ST Thread Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    Is this meant for a topic of discussion here, or just a research project? If it's the former, then carry on! If it's the latter, then I have a lock handy ;)

    Welcome to the Senate [face_coffee]
  6. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    Actually I think there's the basis of a discussion here.

    It's certainly been said that corporations influence elections. But is that very true, or is it that they influence the workings of government between elections?

    In American society as in most societies, there's the assumption of a free and fair vote? Do corporations interfere with this? Consider: there's a base amount of cash someone needs to get their name on a ballot. While there's need for other things, that's really all someone needs to get voted for.

    So what should be asked is: how does money produce votes for the candidate in question? Or does it at all? Does advertising really change peoples minds about a candidate? If so, how often? Does having political analysts on payroll result in a candidate being better able to play to certain constituencies? If so, what does that say about the people in those constituencies?
  7. Sinistron Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Regarding what the moderator says:

    Yikes. I'm guilty of the latter - somewhat. I was just looking for some statistics and did not intend on carrying on with a conversation. I mean, if others do, by all means continue but this was not the intention.
  8. Jedi Merkurian ST Thread Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    It looks like someone has tried to "pick up the baton" as it were, so I'll give the thread a chance...
  9. kingthlayer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2003
    star 4
    I think it is fair to say that corporations can influence the election itself and the political process afterwards.

    Money isn't the be all end all, but it certainly talks. If candidate A is flush with cash from corporations (hypothetically), they can flood the airwaves early with either a positive message about who they are, or a negative one about who candidate B is. If candidate B gets defined too early by such a message and goes on to lose, would they not then be a victim of corporate influence? Or, alternatively, what if candidate B simply can't afford to compete dollar for dollar, and then simply goes on to lose because of a lack of any real name recognition, and thus legitimacy?

    Plus think of all the cool things you can do with rich campaign coffers. At the local caucus and straw poll level, you can entice more people into coming out by having live music, or free food, or something noteworthy at your campaign's ground zero. That is much better than that dork Tim Pawlenty and his boring, empty high school gymnasium.

    So far, we've only seen money be harmful to a candidates chances when it is their own money and they are pouring it in relentlessly (see: 2008 Mitt Romney, 2010 Meg Whitman). At least so far, taking handouts seems to be a lot of upside with little to no downside.
  10. Nagai Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 15, 2010
    star 3
    What about foundations?

    The reason the antiwar movement was neutralised post Bush is because Soros stopped funding it trough his foundations.
  11. DarthIktomi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2009
    star 4
    This influence you speak of isn't in the way you think.

    Basically, they "contribute" to both major parties. That's where the influence comes from. Imagine a roulette wheel where, instead of basing around the number 36, it was based around the number 120. What would you do? Bet on every last number every time. "Yeah, give me $5 on 1, $5 on 2, $5 on 3..." I spent $190, but I won $720.

    That's how corporations contribute. They tend more toward Republicans, though, for some meme or another. Mostly because the average blue-collar Republican votes Republican out of a religious preference. If you have an army of fanatics, you have an advantage. They do contribute to Democrats. Unions do too, though. (Another reason: Corporations know unions are antithetical to their interests.) This is actually why we get stuff like Wisconsin.
  12. Nagai Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 15, 2010
    star 3
    I think Wall Street threw more money at the democrats in the last decade.
  13. DarthIktomi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2009
    star 4
    From 1999-2010, banking and finance gave $3,290,184.46 to Democrats, $5,791,423.45 to Republicans. It's not that the Democrats are pure, of course, just less corrupt. Which is, of course, like marrying the dude who "only cheated on you that one time".