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  • buffet_munger buffet_munger Jan 9, 2013 6:11 AM Flag

    Boeing, GE Update House Donations After Backing Losers

     

    Boeing, GE Update House Donations After Backing Losers
    By Jonathan D. Salant - Jan 9, 2013 12:00 AM
    The political action committee of Boeing Co. (BA) last year donated $3,000 to then-Representative Larry Kissell’s bid for re-election. Thirteen days after the North Carolina Democrat lost, the PAC cut a $1,000 check to Richard Hudson, the Republican who ousted him.

    General Electric Co. (GE)’s PAC made five separate $1,000 donations to Republican Chip Cravaack during the Minnesotan’s first term in Congress. Two weeks after Cravaack lost, GE’s PAC gave $1,000 to Rick Nolan, the Democrat who defeated him.

    Enlarge image Boeing Joins GE in Updating House Donations After Backing Losers
    Boeing Joins GE in Updating House Donations After Backing Losers Boeing Joins GE in Updating House Donations After Backing Losers Tom Williams/Roll Call
    Rep. Larry Kissell, a Democrat from North Carolina speaks during an interview in his office in Washington. Boeing's PAC donated $3,000 to his re-election bid last year. Thirteen days after Kissell lost, the PAC cut a $1,000 check to Richard Hudson, the Republican who ousted him.

    Rep. Larry Kissell, a Democrat from North Carolina speaks during an interview in his office in Washington. Boeing's PAC donated $3,000 to his re-election bid last year. Thirteen days after Kissell lost, the PAC cut a $1,000 check to Richard Hudson, the Republican who ousted him. Photographer: Tom Williams/Roll Call
    Corporate PACs that bet wrong on the congressional elections wasted no time placing their money on the winners. At least eight corporate PACs that contributed to the losing candidate gave to the victor in the month following the 2012 elections, Federal Election Commission records show.

    “Corporations tend to be very pragmatic in their political giving,” said Viveca Novak, editorial and communications director at the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington- based research group that tracks campaign donations. “They were giving to somebody who was in power and now they’re again giving to the new occupant of that seat. They’re not going to be helped by the loser.”

    Former Senator Russ Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat who co- authored the 2002 campaign-finance law that stopped corporations and unions from using their treasuries to aid political parties, said companies don’t care who prevails in elections as long as they’re with the winners when votes are being cast in the House and Senate.

    “There’s a misconception that corporate money cares which party wins elections,” Feingold said. “The truth is, corporate money’s only loyalty is to its own benefit.”

    High Impact
    Such contributions have an even greater impact at a time when others have closed their checkbooks for a while, said Bill Allison, editorial director of the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington-based watchdog group.

    “If you want to get noticed, now is the time when everybody has donor fatigue and there’s not another election for two years,” Allison said. “Being the first to have your foot in the door is one way to stand out.”

    Chicago-based Boeing received $22.1 billion in federal contracts during the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2011, second only to Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) at $42.9 billion, according to BGOV200 Rankings, which lists companies based on the value of their federal contracts.

    Beyond donating to incumbent re-election coffers, Boeing spent $12 million through Sept. 30 to lobby on federal spending bills, the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration, relations with foreign countries, and other issues.

    Texas Race
    In addition to Hudson, Boeing’s PAC opened its checkbook for Texas Democrat Pete Gallego, giving him $2,000 on Nov. 19 after he defeated freshman Republican Quico Canseco. Canseco had received two $1,000 checks during the campaign.

    Hudson also received $5,000 from the American Crystal Sugar Co. (ASCS) PAC on Nov. 27. Moorhead, Minnesota-based American Crystal’s PAC had given two $5,000 checks to Kissell earlier in 2012, the maximum donation to his campaign.

    “When your goal is to have access and influence with elected officials, you have to give to the folks who are in the position to help you out,” said Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch, a Washington-based advocacy group that supports stronger campaign-finance laws.

    Boeing’s Marcellus Rolle said the company PAC “supports legislators who share our views on issues of importance to the company.”

    Lobbying Presence
    As does Boeing, General Electric augments its donations with a strong lobbying presence in Washington. Through Sept. 30, the company spent $15.6 million on lobbying, more than any other corporation, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The 23rd biggest federal contractor, receiving $2.8 billion, GE weighed in on issues such as defense spending and rules governing patents, renewable energy and pollution.

    Spokesman Seth Martin said Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE’s political contributions are determined by a PAC board.

    This topic is deleted.
 
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