Who’s Paying for their Ads? The Presidential Field’s top Donors

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No spin here– not even editorial commentary. Instead, we’re going to take a look at the facts and only the facts in this article today and allow you to draw your own conclusions, form your opinions, and discuss and debate them in the comment thread below. A candidate’s top contributors by company and by industry are publicly available knowledge as FEC rules require candidates to disclose this information quarterly. You can access these data and more at a fantastic political resource called OpenSecrets.org. When a company is listed below, it does not necessarily mean the company itself donated to the candidates, but that the company’s employees did.

I’ve put this list together because an informed electorate should scrutinize just which companies’ and industries’ employees believe which candidate best serves their interests. These are reliable data that can reveal a lot about a political candidate and affect a voter’s assessment of that candidate. For our purposes today, we’ll be examining the 2012 presidential field and the information below is current as of the publication of this article, but always feel free to peruse OpenSecrets yourself to learn more about any politician by doing what is so obvious that it has become a cliche– follow the money:

Barack Obama (D)

Top Companies:
Microsoft Corp, a global software company
DLA Piper, an international law firm
Google Inc, the Internet search engine and email giant

Top Industries:
Retired
Misc Business
Lawyers/Law Firms

Mitt Romney (R)

Top Companies:
Goldman Sachs, a multinational investment bank
JPMorgan Chase & Co, a multinational investment bank
Morgan Stanley, a global financial services company

Top Industries:
Securities & Investment
Retired
Misc Business

Ron Paul (R)

Top Companies:
US Army, a branch of the US Military
US Navy, a branch of the US Military
US Air Force, a branch of the US Military

Top Industries:
Misc Business
Retired
Computers/Internet

Newt Gingrich (R)

Top Companies:
Rock-Tenn Co, a global paper and packaging manufacturer
Las Vegas Sands, a global integrated resort company
Poet LLC, a US biofuel company

Top Industries:
Retired
Misc Business
Securities & Investment

Rick Santorum (R)

Top Companies:
Universal Health Services, a US hospital management company
Blue Cross/Blue Shield, a US health insurance association
Achristavest, a North American property development company

Top Industries:
Retired
Misc Business
Real Estate

Gary Johnson (L)

Top Companies:
Tower Energy Group, a US petroleum wholesaler
Corriente Advisors, a US private investment firm
Welcom Products, a US folding handcart manufacturer

Top Industries:
Misc Business
Retired
Securities & Investment

What does all this information mean to you? Any surprises? Anything you would have guessed before reading it? Does it change your impression or opinion of any of the candidates? Would it affect your vote for any of them? Does this information really matter at all? How much? How should it be weighed against the other reasons to support or not support a candidate? Discuss!