For political contributors, money not only talks, but it can buy a seat at a $10,000-a-table fundraising dinner. While that’s not chump change for a meal, these donors care less about the quality of the cordon bleu and more about the quantity of the conversation.
The health care industry speaks the loudest. Our nation’s health care lobby led all sectors in donations to federal candidates during the 2008 election cycle. As the debate over health care reform heats up in late 2009, President Barack Obama has been offering up some face time to detail his aggressive plans. “We will pass reform that lowers cost, promotes choice, and provides coverage that every American can count on,” he said during a recent news conference. “And we will do it this year.”
As Democrats solidified their control over Congress during the last two elections, more donations have funneled in their direction. The Center for Responsive Politics, at OpenSecrets.org, cites that the health care sector was responsible for giving more than $166 million to federal lawmakers in the 2008 cycle, with a party breakdown of 54% going to Democrats and 46% to Republicans. For the newer 2010 election cycle, health care continues to lead the sectors in donations.
1. American Dental Association, $2,121,690; Dem: 54%, Rep: 46%
3. American Medical Association, $1,897,992; Dem: 56%, Rep: 44%
4. Pfizer Inc., $1,749,387; Dem: 52%, Rep: 48%
5. Amgen Inc., $1,466,839; Rep: 51%, Dem: 49%
6. UnitedHealth Group, $1,326,943; Dem: 64%, Rep: 36%
7. Johnson & Johnson, $1,248,742; Dem: 61%, Rep: 39%
8. GlaxoSmithKline, $1,187,200; Rep: 59%, Dem: 40%
9. Merck & Co. , $971,241; Dem: 51%, Rep: 49%
10. Eli Lilly and Company, $942,853; Rep: 51%, Dem: 49%