The Center for Responsive Politics describes itself as follows:
The Center for Responsive Politics is the nation’s premier research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy. Nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit, the organization aims to create a more educated voter, an involved citizenry and a more transparent and responsive government. In short, the Center’s mission is to:
- Inform citizens about how money in politics affects their lives
- Empower voters and activists by providing unbiased information
- Advocate for a transparent and responsive government
We pursue our mission largely through our award-winning website, OpenSecrets.org, which is the most comprehensive resource for federal campaign contributions, lobbying data and analysis available anywhere.
It’s just published a list of the ‘Top All-Time Donors, 1989-2010‘. It makes for very interesting reading indeed. Here are the top ten political contributors in the USA during that period. Click on each donor’s name to see more information about that organization.
- ActBlue – $51,124,84 (over 90% to Democratic Party)
- AT&T Inc – $46,292,670 (evenly balanced donations)
- American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees – $43,477,361 (over 90% to Democratic Party)
- National Association of Realtors – $38,721,441 (evenly balanced donations)
- Goldman Sachs – $33,387,252 (major share to Democratic Party)
- American Association for Justice (formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America) – $33,143,279 (over 90% to Democratic Party)
- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers – $33,056,216 (over 90% to Democratic Party)
- National Education Association – $32,024,610 (over 90% to Democratic Party)
- Laborers Union – $30,292,050 (over 90% to Democratic Party)
- Teamsters Union – $29,319,982 (over 90% to Democratic Party)
The article lists the top 140 contributors during the period in question. If you want to see who the heavy hitters are in politics, in terms of the amount of money they use to bribe influence our legislators, this is indispensable information.
It also helps to explain why organized labor is currently so incensed about efforts to diminish their influence over state governments – because if they lose influence there, they’re likely to lose it on a national level as well. Since half of the top 10 political contributors are labor unions – and all of them, without exception, direct the vast majority of their support to the Democratic Party – you can now understand why President Obama has been so strongly supportive of the unions throughout his administration, not just during recent events. As always, ‘follow the money’.