Devicemakers PAC it in for the GOP
If you're a U.S. resident with a telephone, television or mailbox, odds are you've been hit up for political contributions this cycle. The same goes for the giants of the medical device world, although on a presumably larger scale. So how have the industry's heavy-hitters spent their campaign cash? We took a look at the numbers for the 5 biggest donors in the business: Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ), Boston Scientific ($BSX), Medtronic ($MDT), Covidien ($COV) and St. Jude Medical ($STJ).
As of Oct. 1, the 5 have donated a total of about $1.5 million to candidates and PACs, according to Open Secrets, which uses data from Federal Election Commission reports. Unsurprisingly, the targets tend towards the right, as about 61% of that money went to Republican office-seekers and organizations. Specifically, politicians who've taken issue with the impending 2.3% excise tax on device sales--part of the Affordable Care Act--fared well, with anti-tax stalwarts Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) raking in thousands from industry wallets. Hatch brought in $21,000 from the 5, and Paulsen snagged $28,000.
Notably, not one of the companies donated to either Mitt Romney or President Barack Obama, and they didn't funnel any money into en vogue super PACs like Restore Our Future that would work to the same ends. Instead, all of the cash went either to congressional candidates, partisan groups or industry PACs like AdvaMed.
The companies dole out their donations through corporate PACs of their own, drawing funds from managers, shareholders and rank-and-file workers to bankroll their political say-so. The employees themselves, however, had different leanings by and large. Federal law requires individual political contributors to list their place of employment, and donors who put down these 5 companies spent 58% of their $480,509 on Democratic candidates and causes.
We took a deeper dive into the data, courtesy of Open Secrets, to see how each company's PAC put its pocketbook to use, also noting how employee contributions differed. Have a look. -- Damian Garde (Twitter | email)