It has been said that a political race is not only participated in by political aspirants but by several interest groups as well. These interest groups may also have a political bet or candidate whom they support throughout the entire election campaign. The participation of these interest groups in the political race is no longer surprising because as their name implies, they have their own “vested interests. ” In the US, several multinational industries or firms belong to interest groups that financially support political parties which has been a traditional undertaking since the 1990s.
In this regard, this paper will discuss the patterns of political giving and briefly examine the rationality of the interest groups’ political role. The Patterns of Support Open Secret, a US-based organization has disclosed that interest groups belong to selective industries and act as financiers of political partisanship which started in the 1990s. These interest groups are prominent stakeholders from various sectors of the industry which include people from commercial banks, health professionals, and pharmaceuticals, among others.
According to Open Secret, these three sectors are only among the 80 industries that consistently and solidly support political parties and its candidates. Based on the data of Open Secret, the sector and stakeholder of Commercial Banks alone has contributed $195, 342,088. 00 to political parties from 1990 to 2008 which covers $116,919,883. 00 for Republicans and $77,689,388. 00 for Democrats. Meanwhile, the sector of health professionals has a total contribution of $395,686,543. 00 in which 41% were given to Democrats and 58% to Republicans.
On the other hand, the pharmaceutical sector contributed a total of $152,437,727. 00 that covers 34% for Democrats and 65% for Republicans. It may be noted from the data of Open Secret that prior to the enactment of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, the so-called “Levin funds” [referring to political contribution] has lead to over-financing. Based on the report of Open Secret, soft money contributions to the national parties were not publicly disclosed until the 1991-1992 election cycle, and were banned by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002.
However, statistical data shows that in 1994 the three above mentioned sectors of the industry are among the top twenty contributors (aside from organizations and individuals not representing an industry. Based on the 1994 report, among the top 20, the health professionals placed 2nd, commercial banks placed 9th, and pharmaceuticals placed 20th. Conclusion It may be concluded that despite the enactment of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, the statistical data of Open Secret indicates the consistent pattern of financial contributions from the interest groups.
To cite as an example, the pharmaceutical sector in has moved from the 20th place to 17th place in the top twenty list of political contributors this year and has given a 50-50 contribution to Democrats and Republicans. Meanwhile, the health professional sector ranked 5th while the commercial bank sector placed 11th . Apparently, a more contemplative mode of political financing may be perceived upon the sharing of contribution to political parties respectively in 2008.
Thus, the pharmaceutical sector has likewise equally contributed 50-50 share to both Democrats and Republicans, which is to the contribution of the health professionals sector that contributed 53% to Democrats and 47% for Republican. In sum, it may be perceived that based on the statistical data, the interest groups are still rampant in the patterns of political giving simply because political interest gratifies the giver.
“Who Gives? ” 2008. Open Secret. 28 March 2008 <http://www. opensecret. org/industries/index. asp>