Monday, March 28, 2005

Cashing In

Go figure. Two-thirds of the money corporations gave to politicians went to Republicans, and now they are cashing in. MBNA Corp was Bush's 5th largest contributor and also spearheaded the lobbying to get the Bankruptcy Reform Act passed. Credit Suisse First Boston LLC, Bank of America Corp. and Wachovia Corp., also beneficiaries of the new law, were in the top 20 contributors. Wal-Mart, a heavy GOP contributor stands to benefit greatly from the recently passed tort reform. Exxon Mobil, has given $5.2 million to GOP candidates in the past decade and less than $650,000 to Democrats. Hmmm, ANWR?

And, coming soon to a bill signing ceremony near you... legal protections for drug companies, doctors, gun manufacturers and asbestos makers, as well as tax breaks for all corporation and energy-related assistance for the oil and gas industry.

Business Sees Gain In GOP Takeover
By Jim VandeHei, Washington Post Staff Writer

Fortune 500 companies that invested millions of dollars in electing Republicans are emerging as the earliest beneficiaries of a government controlled by President Bush and the largest GOP House and Senate majority in a half century.

MBNA Corp., the credit card behemoth and fifth-largest contributor to Bush's two presidential campaigns, is among those on the verge of prevailing in an eight-year fight to curtail personal bankruptcies. Exxon Mobil Corp. and others are close to winning the right to drill for oil in Alaska's wildlife refuge, which they have tried to pass for better than a decade. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., another big contributor to Bush and the GOP, and other big companies recently won long-sought protections from class-action lawsuits.

Republicans have pursued such issues for much of the past decade, asserting that free market policies are the smartest way to grow the economy. But now it appears they finally have the legislative muscle to push some of their agenda through Congress and onto the desk of a president eager to sign pro-business measures into law. The chief reason is Bush's victory in 2004 and GOP gains in Congress, especially in the Senate, where much of corporate America's agenda has bogged down in recent years, according to Republicans and Democrats...

As recent Senate votes on bankruptcy and class-action lawsuits showed, corporations rely on a number of Democrats in the House and Senate and continue to contribute generously to both parties. But in the 2004 elections, Republicans received 66 percent of corporate political action committee (PAC) money, which reflects a trend of businesses tilting support toward the GOP over the last decade. In 1993-94, business PACs gave slightly more to Democrats.

R. Bruce Josten, top lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (news - web sites), said businesses feel a sense of urgency to enact as many pro-business laws as possible before a fight over judicial nominees or a Supreme Court opening brings legislative action to a "screeching halt."

Wal-Mart, the retailer many experts consider the most-sued company in America, stands to benefit from the new class-action law, which is designed to cut down on lawsuits and big verdicts by steering some cases into federal courts, away from state courts with track records of siding with plaintiffs and awarding multimillion-dollar verdicts, according to policy experts.

The company, which expressed disdain for Washington politics in the 1990s, changed its tune dramatically after then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) sat down with the company's managers in Bentonville, Ark., in the late 1990s and warned them of the perils of sitting on the sidelines.

Soon after, Wal-Mart became a major player in GOP politics, funneling money to groups such as the U.S. Chamber to lobby on its behalf and creating a political action committee. In the elections last year, the company's $2.4 million PAC was the third-largest corporate PAC in the country, with nearly 80 percent of its money going to Republicans. Wal-Mart officials contributed more than $30,000 to Bush last election, according to Federal Election Commission (news - web sites) data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan organization that prepared the fundraising data for this article.

(Full Story)


Sigmund, Carl and Alfred said...

I've heard this before. By the same token, most of the Silicon valley dough went to the dems.

Campaign finance reform? No one wants corporate donations touched. That would leave unions and their donations up for scrutiny- and so it goes.

In any case, did you see that ABC News special about how the big donors behaved at both the conventions?

Dingo said...

I didn not see the ABC report, but I know what happened. It was like any other industry convention, lavish parties for all. The concept that corporations are legally "individuals" and even can give political donations is beyond me. Corporations can't vote and should not get to donate. If CEO wants to contribute on his/her own, that is fine, but corporations should not have a "voice" of their own. I think the unions should be limited along with corporations.