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Politics & Shopping

Posted By Barry Ritholtz On December 8, 2004 @ 6:40 am In Finance,Politics | Comments Disabled

Are you donating your money to a party that holds the opposite of your political views?

You may be doing so, albeit indirectly. Nearly everytime you spend money somewhere, some of it (a few cents, anyway) ends up as a corporate political donation. While most companies play both sides of the aisle — looking to stave off unfriendly regulation at the least — some seem to be strictly Red or Blue outfits, donating money to just one side.

That’s not exactly the smartest business strategy, potentially alienating half of your clientele.

It used to be exceedingly difficult to determine who was giving what. Thanks to recent disclosure rules — and a slew of webtools — its now quite simple to determine where your shopping dollars are going:

Check out:

Choose The Blue [1]

Open Secrets [2]

Center for Public Integrity [3]

The Center for Responsive Politics [4]

Business for Social Responsibility [5]

Politcal Moneyline [6]

Special mention should go to Choose The Blue [1] for their incredibly easy to use page. While an obviously Democratic site, they get kudos for their very complete and even handed data. Choose any shopping category, and their crossed reference menu shows you exactly where your money is going.

There were a few surprsies. GM splits their donations 60/40 GOP/Dem; Ford was more heavily Red at 71/29, while Toyota was the only Blue manufacturer at 74%. Progressive Insurance was 91% Blue (no surprise there), while State Farm was 81% Red.

Worth noting that both my favorite (TGT) and least favorite (WMT) discounters are Red: Target at 72%, and Walmart at 81%. The cooperative CostCo is 91% Blue . . . Tech firms were surprisingly Blue (Sun, Cicso, HP and IBM), with Siebel, Intuit and Activision the Red exceptions, as were music .

Terrific guide if you want to know where your dollars are going this holiday season . . .


Additional Source:
Political Favors for Sale [5]
By Selena Maranjian
Motley Fool, September 30, 2002

I haven’t validated all of these, but the list appears mostly accurate:

Price Club/Costco donated $225K, of which 99% went to Democrats;

WalMart, $467K, 97% to Republicans;
K-Mart, $524K, 86% to Republicans;
Home Depot, $298K, 89% to Republicans;
Target, $226K, 70% to Republicans;
Circuit City Stores, $261K, 95% to Republicans;

Rite Aid, $517K, 60% to Democrats;
Magla Products (Stanley tools, Mr. Clean), $22K, 100% to Democrats;

3M Co., $281K, 87% to Republicans;
Hallmark Cards, $319K, 92% to Republicans;
Amway, $391K, 100% Republican;
Kohler Co. (plumbing fixtures), $283K, 100% Republicans;

Warnaco (undergarments), $55K, 73% to Democrats;

B.F. Goodrich (tires), $215K, 97% to Republicans;
Proctor & Gamble, $243K, 79% to Republicans;

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, $153K, 99% to Democrats;
Estee Lauder, $448K, 95% to Democrats;
Guess ? Inc., $145K, 98% to Democrats;
Calvin Klein, $78K, 100% to Democrats;
Liz Claiborne, Inc., $34K, 97% to Democrats;
Levi Straus, $26K, 97% to Democrats;
Olan Mills, $175K, 99% to Democrats.

Coors, $174K, 92% to Republicans;

Gallo Winery, $337K, 95% to Democrats;

Brown-Forman Corp. (Southern Comfort, Jack Daniels, Bushmills, Korbel wines – as well as Lennox China, Dansk, Gorham Silver), $644, 80% to Republicans;

Southern Wine & Spirits, $213K, 73% to Democrats;
Joseph E. Seagrams & Sons (includes beverage business, plus considerable media interests), $2M+, 67% Democrats.

Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. (chicken), $366K, 100% Republican;
Outback Steakhouse, $641K, 95% Republican;

Sonic Corporation, $83K, 98% Democrat;

Tricon Global Restaurants (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell), $133K, 87% Republican; Brinker International (Maggiano’s, Brinker Cafe, Chili’s, On the Border, Macaroni Grill, Crazymel’s, Corner Baker, EatZis), $242K, 83% Republican;

Triarc Companies (Arby’s, T.J. Cinnamon’s, Pasta Connections), $112K, 96% Democrats;

Waffle House, $279K, 100% Republican;
McDonald’s Corp., $197K, 86% Republican;
Darden Restaurants (Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Smokey Bones, Bahama Breeze), $121K, 89% Republican;

Hyatt Corporation, $187K, 80% to Democrats;

Mariott International, $323K, 81% to Republicans;
Holiday Inns, $38K, 71% to Republicans.

Article printed from The Big Picture: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog

URL to article: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2004/12/politics-shopping/

URLs in this post:

[1] Choose The Blue: http://www.choosetheblue.com/main.php

[2] Open Secrets: http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.asp?order=A

[3] Center for Public Integrity: http://www.publicintegrity.org/default.aspx

[4] The Center for Responsive Politics: http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/index.asp

[5] Business for Social Responsibility: http://www.fool.com/news/foth/2002/foth020930.htm

[6] Politcal Moneyline: http://www.fecinfo.com/

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