AT&T, GE, Comcast Among Top 2008 Election Donors

Democrats Receive More Money than Republicans

AT&T topped the list of communications companies donating money in the 2008 election cycle, with Comcast and General Electric also making the top 20.

AT&T came in at No. 5 with $1,094,144 in contributions, with the majority of that (55%) going to Republicans. But it was in the vast minority betting on the red team.

Comcast, which ranked 14th among all donors in the 2008 cycle, has been putting most of its chips on blue, with Democrats getting a whopping 72% of its $747,870 in contributions.

GE, which owns NBC and a lot of other businesses, was No. 13, just edging out Comcast. GE gave 57% of its $773,966 to Democrats.

Coming in at No. 40 was Time Warner at $543,960, with Verizon Communications at No. 51 with $509,946. While Time Warner gave 80% of its money to Democrats, Verizon split its contributions more evenly, with 58% going to Democrats and 42% to Republicans.

Not surprisingly, the Communications Workers of America was the bluest of all of the communications-related givers, coming in at No. 55 and giving 99% of its $480,000 to Democrats.

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association ranked No. 68 in the top 100 donors in the 2008 election cycle, while Comcast and GE were in the top 20, and both were giving more to Democrats.

The NCTA has given $439,873 so far, according to figures released by the Federal Election Committee Oct. 5 and aggregated by the Center for Responsive Politics. The NCTA money has been pretty evenly spread across both parties, with Democrats getting the slight edge at 52% of that figure vs. 48% for Republicans.

The National Association of Broadcasters didn't make the list, which cut off at $336,127. (The National Beer Wholesalers Association, NAB president David Rehr's former digs, came in at No. 26 with $677,000.) But NAB has apparently had the checkbook out in the past three or four weeks. NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton points out that the cut-off for those numbers was Sept. 24. "Had [the tally] been taken today," he said, "we would be well within the top 100."

The list of donors skewed heavily toward Democratic contributions, which is likely as much betting on the projected winning horses as political alignments given that party's recapturing of the Congress and prospects for the presidency.

In fact, 84 of the top 100 donors either leaned toward or were strongly or solidly behind Democrats. All but AT&T among the top 10 donors gave more to Democrats, as opposed to 2006, when six of the top 10 donors gave more to Republicans.