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Fletcher: A little clarity on the top donors to political parties

January 22, 2013
Stephen Fletcher , The Alpena News

As the middle class continues paying higher taxes, the press recently reported that the White House allegedly approved $64 billion in tax loopholes for several big businesses, including Berkshire Hathaway, Goldman Sachs, Citibank, several Hollywood studios and others.

According to Associated Press, the tax law changes were broad-reaching and specifically targeted a number of business CEOs who had contributed to the president's re-election.

The benefits included things like allowing multi-national corporations to park profits made on their U.S. operations overseas - free of U.S. taxes. Large firms like GE and Citibank can make good use of this provision to save a bundle. Other benefits included subsidies for things like wind generation. The recent White House Business Roundtable meetings evidently paid off handsomely for many of the participants.

Is all of this legal and above board? I certainly believe it is.

It appears their lobbyists were more persuasive than were ours. The wind subsidies are so attractive that there will almost surely be more large wind farms built.

So if presidential backers apparently have made out well under the current administration, why are some pundits still picking on Republicans?

Robert Reich, professor of Public Policy at California-Berkley, complained this month in his newspaper column about the large donations made by some Republicans to Gov. Romney's presidential campaign.

They are big all right - tens of millions of dollars according to election filings. Reich's primary whipping boys were the Koch brothers of oil and gas money and Sheldon Adelson, a casino magnate.

Of course Mr. Reich is a solid Democrat, having served as President Clinton's Secretary of Labor. This got me to wondering what large contributors to the Democrat effort looked like so I went to OpenSecrets.org and looked up "Top All-Time Donors 1989-2012."

I encourage you to Google it and to look for yourselves.There are 140 listings, but this is a short column so I'll summarize just the top 25 contributors - both Republican and Democrat. There were six, including AT&T, National Association of Realtors, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, American Medical Association, and JP Morgan Chase who gave more or less equally to both parties. The National Auto Dealers Association, UPS, and American Bankers Association favored the Republicans by around a 60-40 split.

Of the remaining 16 top all-time donors, 13 are labor unions who support the Republicans with about 4 percent of their contributions and 96 percent to Democrats.The other three are President Obama's ActBlue online funding site, EMILY's List, and something called American Association for Justice. These three support the Republicans with around 2 percent of their donations and the Democrats with 98 percent of their money.

The largest donor group on the list gave $76,137,468 and the 25th gave $26,544,170. The total of the 25 amounted to nearly $1 billion, with the lion's share going to the Democrats. The majority of the money came from labor unions. One would think that a prior cabinet member would have mentioned that fact in his column.

You are correct if you think I believe that he didn't present the whole story.

Speaking of that, I have only one other item. During the recent city recall campaign some folks with the recall petitions said that after the recall election that the rest of the "facts" would come out. If there were other "facts," then where are they? Inquiring minds want to know.

 
 

 

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