US Troops Breaking Ranks; Sending Most Campaign Donations to Ron Paul, Barack Obama

February 7th, 2008 - by admin

Center for Responsive Politics & Open – 2008-02-07 22:17:02

Anti-War Candidates Are Top Recipients
Of ‘08 Donations From US Troops

(February 7, 2008) — Conservatives opposed to redeployment in Iraq have consistently claimed that US troops are on their side:

President Bush: “The [military] families gathered here understand that our troops want to finish the job.”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): “I want to — and I want to tell you something, sir. I just finished having Thanksgiving with the troops, and their message to you is — the message of these brave men and women who are serving over there is: Let us win. Let us win.”

Yet US troops disagree. Yesterday, the Center for Responsive Politics reported that members of the military donated the most not to McCain, but to two anti-war candidates:

Individuals in the Army, Navy and Air Force made those branches of the armed services among the top contributors in the 4th Quarter, ranking No. 13, No. 18 and No. 21, respectively.

In 2007, Republican Ron Paul, who opposes US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, was the top recipient of money from donors in the military, collecting at least $212,000 from them. Barack Obama, another war opponent, was second with about $94,000.

These donations reflect the military’s disapproval with the Iraq war and President Bush’s handling of it. A recent Military Times poll found that just 46 percent of US troops now believe that the country should have invaded Iraq, and only 40 percent approve of Bush’s handling of the war.

Cost of ’08 Presidential Race
Already Tops All Elections Prior to ’04

Open Secrets / Center for Responsive Politics

WASHINGTON (February 7, 2008) —Even before a single vote was cast, the candidates running for the White House raised and spent more money in 2007 than in all of seven of the last eight presidential elections, the Center for Responsive Politics has found. And based on their year-end campaign finance filings, the candidates are on pace to break 2004’s fundraising records before the major parties officially nominate their candidates for this November’s contest.

“We knew from the start that this would be the most expensive presidential election ever, but to see the pre-primary season alone costing more than entire elections is remarkable,” said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the nonpartisan watchdog group.

In 2007 the field of presidential candidates for ’08 raised $582.5 million and spent $481.2 million. That exceeds the total fundraising and spending in each election from 1976 through 2000—the last time both parties had competitive fields. In 2000, George W. Bush, Al Gore and the other candidates who ran collected $528.9 million and spent $343.1 million, including public financing.

In 2004, Bush, John Kerry and the rest of the field raised $880.5 million and spent $717.9 million. In 2008, the Center predicts, the candidates alone will raise more than $1 billion—the first time a US presidential election will cross the billion-dollar mark.

On its award-winning website,, the Center for Responsive Politics has incorporated the year-end presidential campaign finance reports into its exclusive analysis of the top industries and contributors backing each candidate. The site’s presidential section also includes analyses of the geographic distribution of contributions, the candidates’ fundraising over time and contributions from major sectors and selected industries in the news.

CRP has also updated’s Money Web, a popular new feature for the ’08 election that uses social networking software to illustrate links between the presidential candidates and their top donors.

Looking at the industries financing this election, lawyers and law firms have contributed more than any other industry, totaling at least $46.6 million to the candidates in 2007. Democrats have received 77 percent of lawyers’ donations, and Hillary Clinton is the top recipient.

Retired individuals made up the No. 2 “industry” for the year, and in the 4th Quarter, they were No. 1. Retirees have contributed more than $38.6 million in this campaign, splitting their donations evenly between the two major parties. Barack Obama has raised more from retired individuals than any other remaining candidate.

In third place for 2007 was the securities and investment industry, which contributed nearly $28.7 million, 56 percent to Democrats. Clinton has received more from Wall Street than any candidate, but Obama is close behind her.

“While this election has been unusual in a number of ways, we have seen consistency in the industries financing these candidates,” Krumholz said.

Other top-giving industries in 2007 included real estate (No. 4), health professionals (No. 8), education (No. 9) and entertainment (No. 10). Democrats have collected more money from all of those industries, topping Republicans’ fundraising in 15 of the 20 industries that have given the most toward this presidential campaign. Three of the top 20 industries favored Republicans in 2007 (miscellaneous finance, general contractors and miscellaneous manufacturing and distributing), while two (retirees and real estate) were roughly split.

Top 10 Industries Contributing to Presidential Candidates, 2007
Industry Grand Total %Dem %Repub
Lawyers/Law Firms $46,557,623 77% 23%
Retired $38,610,407 50% 50%
Securities & Investment $28,671,624 56% 44%
Real Estate $21,426,989 51% 49%
Misc Business $12,497,500 67% 33%
Business Services $12,016,066 62% 38%
Misc Finance $9,798,635 47% 53%
Health Professionals $9,714,655 55% 45%
Education $8,511,935 75% 25%
TV/Movies/Music $7,981,956 82% 18%

While the Democratic candidates dominated the fundraising in 2007, there was some good news for Republicans during the 4th Quarter: They increased their share of the money in nine of the 10 industries that contributed the most in October through December. The bad news for Republicans is that the ground they gained was fueled in part by candidates who have since dropped out, particularly Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson.

Top 10 Industries Contributing to Presidential Candidates, 4th Quarter
Industry Grand Total %Dem %Repub
Retired $11,510,739 45% 55%
Lawyers/Law Firms $6,122,714 70% 30%
Securities & Investment $3,330,854 50% 50%
Real Estate $2,852,061 47% 53%
Health Professionals $2,153,116 49% 51%
Education $2,077,402 73% 27%
Business Services $2,013,354 62% 38%
Misc Business $1,747,086 51% 49%
Misc Finance $1,412,332 44% 56%
Computers/Internet $1,400,256 56% 44%

Ranking individual companies based on their employees’ contributions, as well as the small amount of PAC money in the presidential race, the Center found that Wall Street’s biggest banks were the top givers in 2007. Goldman Sachs was the corporate leader; its employees and their families gave nearly $1.5 million to the presidential candidates, 71 percent to Democrats.

Employees of the other major banks—Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers (which was the biggest donor among all companies in the 4th Quarter), JP Morgan Chase and others—have also favored Democrats. Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse are the only exceptions on Wall Street; their employees’ money went mostly to Republican candidates.

“No matter who becomes our next president, Wall Street will have an indebted friend in the White House,” Krumholz said.

Following the investment banks in the company rankings, DLA Piper was the top contributor among law firms in 2007; employees and the firm’s PAC have contributed more than $682,000 to the candidates, 92 percent to Democrats and 69 percent to Clinton alone. The Skadden Arps firm, Greenberg Traurig, Kirkland & Ellis and Sidley Austin were also big givers in the legal industry.

The biggest “contributor” of all after one year of fundraising remains the progressive group ActBlue, which facilitates individual donors pooling their money to finance Democratic candidates. In donations exceeding $200, ActBlue has directed more than $2.2 million to the presidential candidates, but nearly all of it went to dropouts John Edwards and Bill Richardson. ActBlue’s fundraising is far greater than campaign finance reports would suggest, however, since donations below $200 are not itemized on candidates’ reports and, therefore, cannot be tracked or totaled.

Top 10 Contributors to Presidential Candidates, 2007
Donor Grand Total %Dem %Repub
ActBlue $2,246,871 100% 0%
Goldman Sachs $1,472,646 71% 29%
Citigroup Inc $1,317,453 61% 39%
Morgan Stanley $1,012,097 62% 38%
Lehman Brothers $990,150 61% 39%
Merrill Lynch $932,376 42% 58%
JP Morgan Chase & Co $793,894 66% 34%
UBS AG $696,839 64% 36%
DLA Piper $682,560 92% 8%
Credit Suisse Group $651,895 45% 55%

Top 10 Contributors to Presidential Candidates, 4th Quarter
Donor Grand Total %Dem %Repub
Lehman Brothers $234,060 56% 44%
Microsoft Corp $180,620 71% 29%
Merrill Lynch $174,654 28% 72%
Goldman Sachs $174,143 52% 48%
Morgan Stanley $169,922 55% 45%
Citigroup Inc $169,839 36% 64%
Sullivan & Cromwell $167,785 48% 52%
DLA Piper $136,400 92% 8%
Google Inc $115,511 71% 29%
Pricewaterhousecoopers $112,914 86% 14%

(Company totals include contributions from PACs, employees and their families.)

The Center for Responsive Politics offers these additional observations on donor groups of interest in this campaign:

The industry that has perhaps gotten more discussion in this race than any other, lobbying, continues to favor Hillary Clinton. She received $823,000 in 2007 from the lobbying industry, which gave about $2.7 million overall.

Clinton has outraised Obama with women—$35.1 million to his $28.8 million—but his campaign finance reports list more female donors—29,000 versus her 25,000. Clinton and Obama’s percentages from women are about even—45 percent of her total and 43 percent of his. On the Republican side, Mitt Romney collected the most from women at $14.4 million from about 11,000 donors.

Individuals in the Army, Navy and Air Force made those branches of the armed services among the top contributors in the 4th Quarter, ranking No. 13, No. 18 and No. 21, respectively. In 2007, Republican Ron Paul, who opposes US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, was the top recipient of money from donors in the military, collecting at least $212,000 from them. Barack Obama, another war opponent, was second with about $94,000.

Americans living abroad contributed $1.4 million to the presidential candidates in 2007, exceeding the $908,000 they contributed in all of the 2004 election. These donors favored Democrats with 69 percent of their money in ’07. Obama was the top recipient for the year, but Hillary Clinton, whose husband visited London in October to raise money, dominated in the 4th Quarter.

The Center’s researchers identified the top donors to the ’08 presidential race using the candidates’ Federal Election Commission reports covering Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, which were due on Jan. 31, and added in data from the candidates’ reports from the campaign’s first nine months.

Researchers fingerprinted tens of thousands of individual donors—a task only the Center undertakes on such a large scale. Matches among family members were made to associate unemployed spouses and children with the company and industry of their wage-earning family member. All but about 1 percent of the money flowing to presidential candidates comes from individuals. Political action committees controlled by corporations, unions and interest groups give a relatively small amount to presidential candidates.

If a donor gives more than $200 to a candidate, their name, address, employer and occupation must be provided to the FEC. Donors who give less are not itemized in campaign finance reports, so the Center’s analysis by industry and organization does not include them. CRP’s research, displayed in a variety of ways on, is based at this point on the successful classification of more than 70 percent of the candidates’ itemized contributions in 2007.

For the year, the Center processed more than 650,000 presidential contribution records, totaling $461 million. CRP researchers will continue their analysis over the coming weeks, so figures and rankings are subject to change.

• The Race for the White House section of is available at

About the Center for Responsive Politics
The Center for Responsive Politics is the nation’s premier research group tracking money in US politics and its effect on elections and public policy. The Center accepts no contributions from businesses, labor unions or trade associations.

Poll: Despite Misgivings, Troops Optimistic on Iraq
Tobias Naegele / Military

(December 31, 2007) — The American military — still skeptical about whether the US should have gone to war in Iraq, and still skeptical of President Bush’s war leadership — nevertheless shows increasing optimism about the likelihood of success in the war, this year’s Military Times Poll shows.

Sixty-two percent of active-duty respondents expressed some degree of optimism that the US will succeed in Iraq , up from just 50 percent last year. At their peak of optimism in 2004, 83 percent said they thought success in Iraq was likely.

Though the troops are more optimistic about success, they are resigned to a long haul. The percentage of those who say we’ll need to stay in Iraq more than 10 years is at 37 percent, up considerably from last year’s 23 percent.

But while there appears to be growing optimism, the military’s view of presidential leadership remains doubtful. When asked if they approved or disapproved of how Bush is handling the war in Iraq , 40 percent said they approved, 38 percent said they disapproved and the rest either said they had no opinion or declined to answer. Those ratings are only marginally better than last year, when the president’s approval among the military plummeted from a high of 63 percent in 2004.

Similarly, in 2003 nearly two-thirds said we should have gone to war in Iraq ; today only 46 percent feel that way. Again, that is only marginally better than last year, when 41 said we should have gone to war in Iraq . By comparison, 80 percent said we should have gone to war in Afghan–istan , and 77 percent think the US will be successful there. But even there the president’s war management fails to get majority support — only 47 percent approve of his handling of Afghanistan .

And the troops, staunchly Republican and staunchly conservative, are increasingly skeptical about how well Bush handles presidential duties overall. Only 48 percent approve; 34 percent disapprove.

The poll is the fifth annual gauge of active-duty subscribers to the Military Times papers. The results should not be read as representative of the military as a whole; the survey’s respondents are, on average, older, more experienced, more likely to be officers and more career-oriented than the overall military population.

Still, the poll has come to be viewed by some as a barometer of the professional career military. It is the only independent poll done on an annual basis.

This year’s poll was conducted by e-mail during the week of Dec. 10-17, with 1,468 active-duty people responding. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The military audience responding to the poll is a war-hardened group. Three-quarters have done at least one combat tour. One-third have done two or more tours in Iraq . A quarter have done at least one Afghanistan tour.

And at the time of the poll, 24 percent of those responding were in a combat zone.

The operational tempo of the audience is high. Of those who have done at least two combat tours, 27 percent said they had less than a year between tours.

But despite the combat deployments, the military remains a largely satisfied group. Just under 80 percent said they were somewhat or completely satisfied with their jobs. The same percentage would recommend a military career to others and 70 percent would support a child’s decision to enlist. Two-thirds would re-enlist or extend their commitment if they had to decide today.

Those numbers remain largely unchanged during the past five years.

And despite the strains on the all-volunteer force and the difficulty in retaining and recruiting adequate numbers of troops, this career-oriented group still overwhelmingly opposes a draft. Two-thirds oppose drafting men and three-quarters oppose drafting women.

While the president’s approval rating among the troops has weakened, it is still far better than among the general population. Last August, when Gallup asked, only 27 percent of civilians approved of the way the president is handling the war, compared to 40 percent in the military sample.

David Segal, a sociology professor and director of the Center for Research on Military Organization at the University of Maryland , said the growing optimism about the war’s outcome “is a reflection of the way broader society views the war.”

A Gallup poll at the start of this month showed a steady increase since last spring in the public’s belief that the US will win in Iraq . Many attribute that growing optimism to the surge of US troops in Iraq . In that poll, 39 percent said victory is likely. And while that is up from a low of 28 percent last March, it is still far below the comparatively optimistic outlook the military has.

And there is still a huge gap between civilians and service members about whether the US should have gone to war in Iraq in the first place. While only 34 percent of the military said the US should not have gone to war in Iraq , that number was 57 percent in the Gallup poll of broader society.

Segal said that difference wasn’t surprising. People in the military, he said, “are basically in favor of using the military as an instrument of foreign policy.”

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