IT industry and political donations: party, PAC, and individual

Apple, Google and Yahoo are single-handedly undermining America! claims one Michael Reagan*, son of the former president, and pitchman for Reagan.com, a new “all-conservative” email service. The venerable English IT news web site The Register has a breakdown of computer and telecom industry political contributions based on info from the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets.org. They found that while tech-sector contributions from Apple and Google “are, indeed, weighted toward the Democratic side of the ledger,” it is not the companies themselves that are making the contributions. In fact, it’s the individuals, who work for the companies, who are making the contributions, not the companies themselves.

The notable exceptions to this rule is AT&T. All money from AT&T went through a PAC, and most of that benefited Republicans**. $5.6 million of AT&T’s PAC money went to Republicans, which was over two million dollars more than they gave to Democratic Party coffers.

AT&T and its employees gave the most money of any company on the list, including second-most-contributory company Microsoft. And most of the money from Microsoft people went to Democrats, though a significant amount certainly went to Republicans.

In comparison to AT&T, the entirety of contributions linked to Apple came from individuals, and they overwhelmingly gave to Democrats. The only two other companies that made no PAC contributions were IBM and AOL.

In short, the employees and PAC contributions left neither party untouched, showing the futility of selectively choosing a computers of choice just to favor a political party. Fans of the iPhone indirectly fund contributions to both parties, and there’s little doubt that Verizon and AT&T have an interest in rigging seeing to it that the system is set up in their favor. Those companies, along with Dell, give the most PAC and individual cash to Republicans**.

* I have to wonder how Michael Reagan and his brother Ron, who had a show on Air America, get along.

** And Jeff Plale.

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Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.