Corporations Influence on Elections

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

  1. Sinistron Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jan 31, 2010

    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.

  2. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 7
    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 Youngling

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

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 7
    I couldn't find that exactly, but I did find related information that you might find interesting.

    Top Lobbyist Spenders

    US Chamber of Commerce

    American Medical Assn

    General Electric


    Pharmaceutical Rsrch & Mfrs of America

    American Hospital Assn

    Blue Cross/Blue Shield

    National Assn of Realtors

    Northrop Grumman

    Exxon Mobil

    Verizon Communications

    Edison Electric Institute

    Business Roundtable

    Boeing Co

    Lockheed Martin

    AT&T Inc

    Southern Co

    General Motors

    PG&E Corp

    Pfizer Inc

    Top Sectors for Lobbying



    Misc Business


    Energy/Nat Resource








    Lawyers & Lobbyists

    Top Industries for Lobbying

    Pharmaceuticals/Health Products


    Electric Utilities

    Business Associations


    Oil & Gas

    Misc Manufacturing & Distributing


    Hospitals/Nursing Homes

    Civil Servants/Public Officials


    Real Estate

    Securities & Investment

    Health Professionals

    Air Transport

    Misc Issues

    Telephone Utilities


    Telecom Services & Equipment

    Defense Aerospace

    Top Issues for Lobbyists (in # of reports)

    Fed Budget & Appropriations

    Health Issues




    Energy & Nuclear Power

    Environment & Superfund



    Medicare & Medicaid

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





    Energy & Natural Resources

    Finance, Insurance & Real Estate


    Lawyers & Lobbyists


    Misc Business




    Top Industries to 2012 Presidential Candidates


    Misc Business

    Securities & Investment

    Lawyers/Law Firms

    Real Estate

    Homemakers/Non-income earners


    Misc Finance

    Business Services


    Health Professionals

    Hedge Funds


    Oil & Gas

    Civil Servants/Public Officials

    Misc Manufacturing & Distributing


    Commercial Banks

    Candidate Committees

    General Contractors

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

    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 Knight

    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 Youngling

    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

    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 Jedi Master

    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 Padawan

    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 Padawan

    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".