In Mitt Romney’s losing bid for the presidency, he still remained the top recipient of trucking contributions to political campaigns, with American Trucking Associations President Bill Graves ranked as the Republican nominee’s top trucking-oriented bundler nationwide.
Graves gathered nearly $1.68 million for Romney as a bundler — an individual or group that collects and delivers contributions to a candidate. Trucking as a whole, which includes carriers, truck rental companies and truck and trailer manufacturers, gave an additional $911,820 to the former Massachusetts governor’s campaign.
Story data on contributions to federal candidates was provided through the Center for Responsive Politics and unless otherwise noted, figures refer to the current campaign cycle. Foundation grants and individuals fund the non-partisan, non-profit research group, which does not accept contributions from corporations, trade associations or labor unions.
Of trucking’s more than $7.8 million in political contributions, 85 percent went to Republican federal candidates, the biggest percentage the party has received from the industry in 22 years. Trucking gave the lowest percentage to GOP candidates in 1990, when Republicans received 51 percent of campaign funds.
After Romney, the industry’s second highest recipient this cycle was longtime Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who received $75,000 before dropping out of the Republican presidential primary. Trucking’s third highest recipient was Democrat President Obama at $63,796 .
The industry’s top contributor was ATA’s political action committee, which donated $602,500, 74 percent of which was contributed to GOP candidates. PACS are political committees that raise and spend money to elect or defeat candidates.
In congressional races, three Republican members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee were the top ATA recipients, receiving $10,000 each. The recipients were Iowa Rep. Tom Latham, an appropriations transportation subcommittee member in his ninth congressional term, Florida Rep. John Mica, chairman of the transportation committee chairman and Pennsylvania Rep. Bill Shuster, chairman of the Railroads Pipelines and Hazardous Materials subcommittee.
The second highest trucking entity contributor was Michigan-based Centra Inc., which gave $426,450, 96 percent of which went to Republicans.
The Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association PAC ranked third. It contributed $298,738, with $163,500 earmarked for Republicans. OOIDA’s highest contribution to a candidate was $10,000 to West Virginia Rep. Nick Rahall, now in his 18th term and a ranking member of the House transportation committee. Center data did not indicate the association had donated to presidential candidates this cycle.
OOIDA’s funding favored Democrats from 1990-1994, but in 1996, it made a sharp shift to Republicans. The association has continued to lean toward supporting Republican candidates, save for 2008, when contributions to Democrats edged out those to Republicans.
Knight Transportation ranked fourth in trucking contributions, with $227,700 going to GOP candidates.
The trucking sector’s top 20 contributors to federal candidates also included 13 other carriers and two OEMS, Knapheide Manufacturing and OskKosh Corp.
The Teamsters Union PAC contributed more than $1.6 million. Democrats Rep. Kathleen Hochul of New York received the most at $15,000, followed by Obama at $12,840 and Rep. John Conyers of Texas with $10,500.
Across all industry sectors, transportation ranks 12th highest in contributions while finance, insurance and real estate entities industries place first. Under the transportation umbrella, 77 percent of monies went to GOP candidates.
At nearly $1.2 million, the National Auto Dealers Association ranked first as a transportation contributor and donates 71 percent of funds to Republicans. Second was United Parcel Service’s $1.2 million, with 65 percent earmarked for GOP candidates.
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