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10 Companies Making the Biggest Political Donations

Publicly traded companies are funneling big money into campaigns


#10: Lockheed Martin

Total contributions (2012-ongoing): $1,927,900
Donations to Democratic Party: 38%
Donations to Republican Party: 62%
Spending on lobbying (2012-ongoing): $3,979,250
Industry: Aerospace/Defense Products and Services

Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) has been one of the largest political contributors of the past 20 years, and it has donated more than $1 million in each election cycle dating back to 1996. In this current cycle, 83% of funds contributed by the company have come from the Lockheed Martin Employees Political Action Committee (LMEPAC), which has contributed $570,000 to Democratic Party candidates and $881,000 to Republican Party candidates. In fiscal 2011, the defense company received contracts worth over $17 billion, more than any other company in the U.S. This was more than the government contracts received by Boeing (NYSE:BA) and Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) combined.

#9: Bank of America

Total contributions (2012-ongoing): $2,125,513
Donations to Democratic Party: 26%
Donations to Republican Party: 74%
Spending on lobbying (2012-ongoing): $870,000
Industry: International, Money Center Bank

Since 2004, Bank of America‘s (NYSE:BAC) political contributions have exceeded $2 million in each election cycle. Following the bank’s acquisition of financial institutions, including FleetBoston, MBNA, Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch, the number of full-time employees rose to some 279,000. Donations from company’s employees now make up over two-thirds of the bank’s total contributions. In 2008 and 2009, the U.S. Department of the Treasury gave Bank of America $45 billion in TARP bailout funds. In March 2012, the company agreed to pay $11.8 billion in fines for abuses in home foreclosure proceedings.

#8: Honeywell International

Total contributions (2012-ongoing): $2,222,605
Donations to Democratic Party: 37%
Donations to Republican Party: 63%
Spending on lobbying (2012-ongoing): $1,750,000
Industry: Aerospace/Defense Products and Services

In this election cycle, Honeywell (NYSE:HON) has donated nearly $2 million in contributions directly to political candidates and parties, most of which was given through the Honeywell International Political Action Committee (HIPAC), which allows employees to donate to candidates vetted by the company. In the current election cycle, no contribution to HIPAC has exceeded $5,000, and just seven contributions were for $2,500 or more. According to the diversified manufacturing company’s corporate governance guidelines, PAC donations are intended to be the primary way in which the company is politically active. The company, however, is also very active in lobbying, having spent upwards of $6 million annually from 2009 to 2011. Honeywell received $725 million worth of government-contracts in fiscal year 2011.

#7: Huntsman

Total contributions (2012-ongoing): $2,250,389
Donations to Democratic Party: 0%
Donations to Republican Party: 100%
Spending on lobbying (2012-ongoing): $100,000
Industry: Specialty Chemicals

Chemical company Huntsman Corporation (NYSE:HUN) donated $2.25 million to political campaigns in the present election cycle. Almost all of this came from the company’s founder and chairman, Jon Huntsman Sr., whose donations made him one of the nation’s largest individual contributors. In the span of four months, from October 2011 through January 2012, Huntsman donated $2.2 million over 10 payments to Our Destiny PAC, a group that supported the presidential candidacy of his son, Jon Huntsman Jr. Roughly 99% of the donations was to Our Destiny, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, while direct contributions to candidates and parties accounted for the remaining 1%, or just $28,350.

#6: Microsoft

Total contributions (2012-ongoing): $2,253,565
Donations to Democratic Party: 68%
Donations to Republican Party: 32%
Spending on lobbying (2012-ongoing): $1,790,000
Industry: Software

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has a long history of political contributions, donating a total of $24 million since 1988. Only once over the last seven election cycles has the software company not been one of the ten largest political donors among public companies. Though the company’s chairman, Bill Gates, is one of the world’s wealthiest individuals, he has exclusively contributed smaller, incremental donations directly to party groups and candidates, rather than providing PACs with large contributions. In addition to Gates, CEO Steve Ballmer has made more than 20 political contributions ranging from $1,000 to $15,000. Donations from these and other employees accounted for 67% of the money raised in the present election cycle.

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