The U.S. government ranks fourth among entities whose PACs, employees and owners, and those inidividuals' immediate families donated the most to President Obama's reelection campaign, according to data just released by the OpenSecrets.org project of the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics.
Behind top totals from individual donors employed by, in rank order, the University of California, Microsoft, and Google, were federal employees, who together gave Obama $627,628. In separate, agency-specific counts, State Department employees gave $308,926, and Justice Department workers donated $300,455 to the Democrat, the top listings show. By contrast, Republican Mitt Romney's campaign’s top donors were employed chiefly by investment banks.
As the center’s website explains, the donations are made by individuals, not the entity itself. Under federal law, all contributions of more than $200 must be itemized and the donor's occupation and employer must be requested and disclosed. The listings, however, “capture only a subset of donations,” because many others are made by a company or nonprofit’s political action committee or company owners or their families while some donations are “bundled” and thus hard to track, the center said.
One reason for the high totals from federal employees, OpenSecrets.org spokeswoman Viveca Novak told Government Executive, is that “any administration will have political appointees whose employer will be listed, and they will naturally want to help with the reelection of the person who put them in the job.”