Campaign contribution data shows financial sector split between Democrats and Republicans
Finance-related industries campaign contribution data obtained from opensecrets.org for Senator Wyden, D-Oregon and Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Senator Crapo, R-Idaho and Ranking Member from the Senate Finance Committee, show higher support for Wyden from the securities and investment industry and increased support from commercial banks and finance and credit companies for Crapo.
Senators Wyden and Crapo are well placed to have their contributions compared and used as a case study for industry support for the Democratic and Republican parties. Donations to this pair are expected to yield more insight into industry support for their respective parties than any other couple in the Senate.
They are both incumbent senators, so they would both benefit from fundraising benefits. They are both eligible for re-election this year, so donors who donate late in an election cycle are included for both candidates. They both hold seats considered electorally safe, meaning donors are unlikely to be interested in trying to sway a close election. They are also both the highest-ranking members of their respective parties’ Senate Finance Committee, so neither receives a seniority bonus than the other.
And they represent states that are not known for their financial industry, which means that many of their financial sector donors come from other states.
Research by Brandice Canes-Wrone, professor of politics at Princeton University, and Kenneth Miller, professor of political science at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, shows that candidates who are more dependent on external donors State tend to be more responsive to the opinions of the national donor base as opposed to the opinion of the voters they represent. More secure seats, such as those held by Senators Wyden and Crapo, also tend to be more responsive to domestic voters. Given that finance is a national industry, clustered in states not represented by Wyden and Crapo, such as New York, the influence of the national donor base on financial matters should be particularly acute for both.
But why donate to a well-established candidate? If they will win either way, why not save your money? Candidates in secure seats are still required by their party to raise funds, and candidates can transfer unlimited amounts of money to national and state party committees. Therefore, contributions can still increase their prestige and influence within their party, and therefore donations can still be used to curry favor with them, the researchers found.
Research by Anthony Fowler, a professor of public policy at the University of Chicago, shows that corporations don’t normally benefit enough from electing favored candidates, at least not by a margin to justify donating. However, donors are more likely to secure meetings with members of Congress than regular voters, and donations are more of a way to get a member’s attention, access it, and cultivate personal relationships. with him and his staff. Since both Wyden and Crapo are senior members of their committees and are likely to serve until retirement, getting their attention with donations can be a valuable business investment.
With that in hand, what kind of support are the two senators getting from finance-related industries?
Using contribution data compiled from opensecrets.org, contributions from industries of interest and contributions from individuals and those from political action committees, or PACs, can be examined.
Individual contributions are capped at $2,900 per candidate per election, meaning a donor can contribute the maximum in a primary and then again in the general election, totaling $5,800 for the election cycle . In this case, PACs are organizations created by a company (union PACs are not included in this dataset) that can raise funds from employees of that company. Including both individual donations and PAC donations provides a broader view of support within the industry for Wyden and Crapo.
The data shows that Crapo received more contributions from the commercial banking sector, $64,342 from people working in this sector and $210,000 from PACs created by companies in this sector, than Wyden. Wyden’s contributions from commercial banks were $19,395 from individuals and $19,750 from PACs, totaling $39,145 compared to Crapo’s total of $274,342.
Crapo also received more from finance and credit companies than Wyden. Crapo received a total of $159,550, with $37,850 and $121,700 coming from individuals and PAC, respectively. Wyden received a total of $31,173, including $11,673 and $19,500 from individuals and PAC, respectively.
A confounding factor regarding these two industries is that Crapo is a member of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and Wyden is not. However, commercial banks and finance and credit companies donated more to Republicans in general in 2022.
Wyden received more money from the securities and investment industry and from donors classified as belonging to various financial sectors than Crapo. He also received more retired donors than Crapo.
Crapo received $748,754 from securities investments and backers, compared to Wyden’s $1,105,310. Donors in the miscellaneous fundraising category donated a total of $194,119 to Crapo and $311,714 to Wyden. Retired donors gave $106,692 to Crapo and $1,185,095 to Wyden.
Although retirees are an industry, their contributions are included in this analysis due to the use of financial products by members of this group. The Senate Finance Committee is involved in the issue of pension policy reform and passed the EARN Act earlier this year as part of a larger package of reform bills dubbed “SECURE 2.0.” Industry insiders believe this reform should pass this Congress and it is supported by both senators.
Following the previous pattern, various backers have given more to Democrats in general in 2022, as has the securities and investment industry. Retirees, on the other hand, gave more to Republicans ($316.7 million) than Democrats ($289 million).