Companies with No Loyalty: $100,000 Contributors to Both Party Conventions

Multinational Monitor, October 1996 | Go to article overview

Companies with No Loyalty: $100,000 Contributors to Both Party Conventions


Taking advantage of a new loophole in Federal Election Commission (FEC) rules, some of the largest U.S. corporations gave hundreds of thousands of dollars in goods and services directly to the Democratic and Republican Party conventions. The FEC does not view the goods and services as contributions-a good thing, since federal election law prohibits a rec. corporate giving to the publicly financed presidential nominating conventions

Old rules a owed only local and retail businesses to give the convention committees discounts But rules adopted in 1994 permit any commercial vendor to trade goods and services for "promotional considerations."

Following is a list, compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, of the 10 companies that gave at least $100,000 to each of the major parties' conventions, and a brief summary of their Washington agenda.

ABBOT LABORATORIES. Abbott lobbied on a bill that will make it easier for U.S. pharmaceutical companies to export drugs and medical devices that the Food and Drug Administration has not approved for sale in the United States. The new law was folded into the mammoth funding bill that Congress passed in March 1996.

ANHEUSER-BUSCH. Anheuser-Busch puts much of its lobbying attention on opposing beer excise taxes and following labeling issues. The company also watches over environmental issues such as hazardous waste and endangered species. as well as tort reform and the farm bill.

AT&T. Of primary concern for the telephone company is the Federal Communications Commission's implementation of the new telecommunications law. Among the company's other lobbying interests are Superfund reform preferred trading status for China. and worker safety regulations. AT&T also hired a former congressperson, Fred B. Rooney, D-Pennsylvania, to help lobby on its contract to provide phone services for the federal government in late 1995, AT&T won a competition with Sprint for an increased share of the multimillion dollar federal government contract. which will be up for renepotiation during the next administration.

BANKAMERICA CORPORATION. BankAmerica's main concern in Congress is banking reform proposals -- now bogged down because of fights between banking and insurance companies. The bank is poised, however, to cash in on a Federal Reserve Board proposal to ease regulations on banks like BankAmerica, which offer securities services through subsidiaries.

BAXTER INTERNATIONAL. The bio-technology company lobbies on all issues relating to drugs and medical devices, including tort reform, patents, export laws, funding for the National Institutes of Health and blood safety. …

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