April 2007

The Logo Lowdown, part 2

FROM THE “LAND OF THE CLUELESS AND CONNIVING,” meet a couple of gentlemen who insist that America’s political funding system is working splendidly. They report that there’s absolutely nothing going on between the money interests and our lawmakers in Washington that should trouble our fuzzy little minds.

Enjoying Hightower? How about a weekly email that gives you the full scoop?

First up is one Paul Miller, president of the American League of Lobbyists (bet you didn’t know that lobbying is now such an industry in Washington that they’ve formed a lobby group for lobbyists!). He offers this insight:

“Our government is not corrupt, lobbyists are not bribing people, and members of Congress are not being bought for campaign contributions. I don’t think we can say for certainty that the current system is broken.”

Gosh, I wonder if he can say “TomDeLay JackAbramoff DukeCunningham” with certainty…or a straight face?

Next comes Ben Barr, who’s from a pro-corporate Arizona think tank called the Goldwater Institute. In an interview last October on the PBS television show “NOW,” he shared this wisdom:

NOW: Do you think money is a problem in politics under the traditional system?

Barr: No, I do not. Money is speech.

NOW: But, surely money can also distort speech….

Barr: That’s the price of freedom…. Speech costs money.

Follow the bouncing logic: Speech costs money; money distorts speech; distorted speech is freedom.

So, I hope you’ll feel perfectly free to peruse this month’s Lowdown listing of brand-name corporations and others who paid pricey sums in last year’s congressional elections to buy oodles of speech for themselves. Their purchases began at the $100,000 level and ran higher than $3 million.

Lest you think that this money amounts to a gross distortion of our democracy, I’m sure that Messrs. Miller and Barr would point out that, hey, it’s an open system—if you’ve got $100,000 and up, you can buy some speech, too! Imagine how Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Madison, and the other founders would feel about this perversion of their concept of “free speech.”

And if the 2006 money appalls you, wait for the presidential race, where it’s predicted that serious contenders will have to put up $100 million each to be competitive in the primary elections. This means that Clinton, Edwards, Giuliani, McCain, Obama, Romney and the rest will be dragging sacks all this year to wealthy interests, with the candidates needing to fill their sacks with $2 million every week!

To help reform this destructive, corrupting, absurdist system, call Public Campaign (202-293-0222). Meanwhile, you might want to take your own personal stand by voting with your consumer dollars, using this month’s and last month’s Lowdowner’s Shopping Guide.

ENERGY/NATURAL RESOURCES
Corporation & products Total contributed Percentage contributed
Koch Industries, Inc. $1,274,055 86% to GOP
Exxon Mobil Corp. $827,882 90% to GOP
Valero Energy Corp. $787,950 88% to GOP
Southern Co. $759,274 77% to GOP
Florida Power & Light Co. $755,095 81% to GOP
American Electric Power $674,500 79% to GOP
TXU Corp. $584,864 79% to GOP
Peabody Energy Corp. $519,250 91% to GOP
Chevron Corp. $534,237 86% to GOP
Occidental Petroleum Corp. $476,525 74% to GOP
Duke Energy Corp. $412,475 80% to GOP
ConocoPhillips $414,083 90% to GOP
Marathon Oil Corp. $405,803 80% to GOP
Sunoco, Inc. $314,550 81% to GOP
Andarko Petroleum Corp. $260,000 91% to GOP
Chesapeake Energy Corp. $249,820 93% to GOP
PPL Corp. $236,007 76% to GOP
Waste Management, Inc. $227,983 67% to GOP
Murray Energy Corp. $174,750 99% to GOP
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold $180,600 84% to GOP
Phelps Dodge Corp. $181,685 83% to GOP
Arch Coal, Inc. $160,850 80% to GOP
El Paso Corp. $157,600 67% to GOP
Foundation Coal $151,370 72% to GOP

 

COMPUTERS/INTERNET
Corporation & products Total contributed Percentage contributed
Siebel Systems, Inc. $663,750 89% to GOP
Intel Corp. $478,259 63% to GOP
Dell Inc. $384,602 83% to GOP
Google Inc. $286,987 91% to GOP
Oracle Corp. $264,395 65% to GOP
Unisys Corp. $215,735 65% to GOP
SAP America $184,304 69% to GOP
EMC Corp. $178,300 74% to GOP
VeriSign, Inc. $158,950 82% to GOP
Prologic, Inc. $249,150 84% to Dems
Achievement Technologies, Inc. $215,300 99% to Dems
Progeny Systems Corp. $197,875 70% to Dems

 

Counter conformity.

Stand out with Lowdown gear.

 

CONSTRUCTION
Corporation & products Total contributed Percentage contributed
Washington Group International $681,019 66% to GOP
Caterpillar Inc. $474,241 84% to GOP
Centex Corp. $284,472 92% to GOP
Perry Homes $159,000 99% to GOP
Clark Construction $138,450 96% to GOP
Kohler Co. $125,300 86% to GOP
Zachry Construction Corp. $124,250 87% to GOP
Stanley Tate Enterprises $124,200 100% to GOP
Williams Brothers Construction $116,300 100% to GOP
William Lyon Homes $111,500 100% to GOP
Village Homes of Colorado $103,637 100% to GOP
Owens Corning $102,450 77% to GOP
Tishman Realty & Construction $218,100 99% to Dems

 

 

BANKS/INSURANCE/FINANCE
Corporation & products Total contributed Percentage contributed
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu $2,147,239 71% to GOP
PricewaterhouseCoopers $1,367,604 70% to GOP
KPMG LLP $1,256,900 67% to GOP
Wachovia Corp. $1,115,144 64% to GOP
USAA Insurance $637,850 76% to GOP
American Financial Group $626,900 98% to GOP
Nelnet, Inc. $561,600 76% to GOP
St. Paul Travelers Companies $498,519 67% to GOP
Zurich Financial Services $467,985 82% to GOP
Aon Corp. $435,432 76% to GOP
U.S. Bancorp $429,520 68% to GOP
Mellon Financial Corp. $341,720 69% to GOP
National City Corp. $210,260 85% to GOP
Trust Company of the West $213,170 70% to GOP
SunTrust Banks, Inc. $172,976 73% to GOP
Cash America International $145,350 73% to GOP
College Loan Corp. $138,000 88% to GOP
Bank of New York $199,431 66% to Dems
City National Bank $159,301 97% to Dems
Advance America $131,900 84% to Dems
Business Loan Express $124,100 98% to Dems

 

DEFENSE
Corporation & products Total contributed Percentage contributed
BAE Systems $979,089 64% to GOP
Fluor Corp. $363,920 78% to GOP
Bechtel Group $269,650 64% to GOP
Halliburton $205,390 94% to GOP
Vought Aircraft $128,000 73% to GOP

 

Playing both sides
Some major players wanted to be “winners” no matter which side prevailed last November, so they split their campaign investments pretty evenly. Here are million- dollar donors who hedged their bets in 2006:
Corporation & products Total contributed TO DEMS TO GOP
Goldman Sachs $3,348,816 61% 38%
Citigroup Inc. $2,368,516 51% 46%
Verizon $2,080,425 40% 59%
Bank of America $2,050,034 44% 55%
JPMorgan Chase & Co. $2,009,121 56% 43%
Lockheed Martin $2,007,569 42% 58%
Microsoft $1,995,492 56% 43%
UBS AG $1,909,551 50% 45%
Morgan Stanley $1,837,253 48% 51%
Comcast Corp. $1,796,325 49% 50%
Aflac Inc. $1,634,685 43% 56%
Ernst & Young $1,434,481 42% 57%
General Dynamics $1,419,913 38% 59%
Blue Cross & Blue Shield $1,375,346 41% 59%
Bellsouth Corp. $1,355,995 41% 58%
Boeing Co. $1,173,141 43% 56%
Raytheon Co. $1,116,880 43% 57%
New York Life Insurance Co. $1,102,025 52% 47%
Merrill Lynch $1,036,433 45% 54%
NewsCorp. (Fox TV/film) $943,682 55% 45%

 

HEALTH SERVICES/PHARMACEUTICALS
Corporation & products Total contributed Percentage contributed
Pfizer, Inc. $1,698,639 68% to GOP
GlaxoSmithKline Inc. $1,101,591 69% to GOP
Amgen Inc. $1,055,975 67% to GOP
Eli Lilly and Co. $668,060 72% to GOP
Abbott Laboratories $662,946 83% to GOP
Merck & Co., Inc. $532,856 78% to GOP
AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals $520,730 74% to GOP
DaVita Inc. $487,800 68% to GOP
Schering-Plough Corp. $463,438 77% to GOP
Kindred Healthcare, Inc. $415,000 75% to GOP
Medco Health Solutions, Inc. $387,220 68% to GOP
Novartis AG $375,933 71% to GOP
HCA, Inc. $299,187 69% to GOP
sanofi-aventis Group $271,285 73% to GOP
Humana, Inc. $233,947 82% to GOP
Bayer Corp. $205,833 82% to GOP
PacifiCare Health Systems $188,500 67% to GOP
Kaiser Permanente $109,546 69% to Dems

 

TRANSPORTATION
Corporation & products Total contributed Percentage contributed
UPS $2,522,673 65% to GOP
FedEx Corp. $1,522,354 64% to GOP
Union Pacific Corp. $1,327,765 77% to GOP
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. $1,264,944 71% to GOP
Enterprise Rent-A-Car $942,320 83% to GOP
General Motors Corp. $835,235 67% to GOP
Ford Motor Co. $561,761 66% to GOP
CSX Corp. $526,980 71% to GOP
American Airlines $464,578 67% to GOP
Continental Airlines $291,923 72% to GOP
Southwest Airlines $267,264 76% to GOP
Northwest Airlines $243,866 70% to GOP
CarMax, Inc. $182,850 92% to GOP
Carnival Corp. $181,099 70% to GOP
Delta Air Lines $151,817 80% to GOP
Overnite Corp. $147,500 94% to GOP
Rolls-Royce $137,750 79% to GOP
US Airways $116,150 71% to GOP

 

COMMUNICATIONS/ELECTRONICS/ENTERTAINMENT
Corporation & products Total contributed Percentage contributed
AT&T $2,835,997 65% to GOP
General Electric
NBC Television Network, Universal Pictures, Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC, Sci Fi, USA Network, Universal Parks and Resorts.
$1,172,101 90% to GOP
Clear Channel Communications
Several TV stations, over 1,200 radio stations, concert venues, advertising.
$789,279 64% to GOP
Qwest Communications $693,653 66% to GOP
Corning, Inc. $396,710 65% to GOP
IDT Corp. $365,183 84% to GOP
Motorola, Inc. $355,221 68% to GOP
Bresnan Communications $229,150 98% to GOP
Salem Communications $181,499 100% to GOP
Western Wireless $159,700 79% to GOP
Time Warner
Time, Entertainment Weekly, Fortune, In Style, Life, Money, People, Real Simple, Sports Illustrated, Coastal Living, Cooking Light, Southern Living, Sunset, The Progressive Farmer, Golf Magazine, This Old House, Homes & Gardens, DC Comics, Mad Magazine, Turner Broadcasting System, Atlanta Braves, Cartoon Network, CNN, NASCAR.COM, TBS, TCM, Pogo, TNT, Turner Network Television, Court TV, AOL, CompuServe, MapQuest, Moviefone, Xdrive, New Line Cinema.
$1,861,845 72% to Dems
Viacom Inc
BET, MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, Comedy Central, CMT, IFILM, DreamWorks SKG, TV Land, Paramount.
$855,971 80% to Dems
QUALCOMM Inc. $447,550 65% to Dems
Discovery Communications
Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, The Science Channel, Discovery Times, Military Channel, FitTV, U.S. Hispanic Networks, Discovery HD Theater.
$135,320 98% to Dems
Working Assets $117,914  100% to Dems

 

Union donations
The right wing constantly says that, yeah, corporations are big Republican backers, but that this money is balanced by the donations that unions make to Democrats. Nice try, but no cigar. While unions do support Dems, total corporate investment in congressional races dwarfs that made by the unions. The union total of $65million is less than that of the electronics industry alone ($67million) and amounts to less than 7% of the roughly $880 million that corporations put up last year. Here’s a listing of the top 20 labor donors, with the percentage they gave to Democrats:
Corporation & products Total contributed Percentage to Dems
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers $3,018,636 97%
Laborers Union $2,936,259 87%
Operating Engineers Union $2,788,595 78%
American Federation of Teachers $2,569,498 99%
Carpenters & Joiners Union $2,522,173 75%
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees $2,347,588 98%
National Education Association $2,339,477 87%
United Auto Workers $2,303,290 99%
Teamsters Union $2,284,522 90%
National Air Traffic Controllers Association $2,149,570 76%
International Association of Fire Fighters $2,145,105 72%
Machinists/Aerospace Workers Union $2,086,589 98%
Plumbers/Pipefitters Union $2,086,170 91%
Air Line Pilots Association $1,819,250 89%
Sheet Metal Workers Union United Food & Commercial $1,771,700 95%
Workers Union $1,722,305 98%
American Postal Workers Union $1,721,500 95%
National Association of Letter Carriers $1,718,300 88%
Service Employees International Union $1,674,192 92%
AFL-CIO $1,615,577 88%
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