elections in 2006, accounting PACs supported
Republicans over Democrats by a better than
two-to-one margin and channeled more than
70 percent of their total contributions to GOP
candidates. ;is year, while Republicans were
posting strong gains at the polls, those same
PACs adopted a more balanced approach by
donating less than 55 percent of their campaign contributions to Republicans.
Accounting’s continuing shift away from
the GOP was even more pronounced in
House races, where industry PACs funneled
80 percent of the $5 million that they contributed directly to congressional candidates. In
House contests, Democrats pulled in 47 percent of industry contributions, while Republicans pocketed 53 percent. ;e majority of
their money’s worth in this year’s election. In
an election where the GOP made a big splash
at the polls, most of the candidates supported
by accounting PACs were Republicans, and
Republicans received the majority of the
industry’s campaign contributions.
Moreover, despite some high-pro;le defeats, the overwhelming majority of candidates backed by accounting PACs went on
to win. And the profession’s PACs did make
substantial contributions to those representatives who ;gure to be in particularly in;u-ential positions in the next Congress.
largest businesses and industry associations
are no longer solidly Republican, but are now
splitting their support more evenly.
A CLOSER BIPARTISAN BALANCE
Indeed, Accounting Today’s analysis of Federal Election Commission records for the 2010
elections found that the top 10 recipients of
PAC support from the industry include: Rep.
John Boehner, R-Ohio, in line to become
Last month’s elections scrambled the
leadership roster on several committees that will determine the fate of
the accounting profession’s legislative
priorities for the next two years.
By taking control of the House of
Representatives, the Republicans won
the chair of the tax-writing Ways &
Means Committee. The panel’s ranking
Republican, David Camp of Michigan,
is in line to take control. Camp, a fiscal
conservative who attracted more than
$36,000 in campaign support from
accounting PACs, figures to be more
accepting of the profession’s tax recommendations.
The GOP also won control of the
House Financial Services Committee.
The top-ranking Republican on the
Financial Services Committee, Spencer
Bachus of Alabama, appears likely to
chair that panel for the next two years.
Bachus received more campaign dona-
tions from the accounting profession
during this year’s election ($57,000)
than any other candidate.
Another of the accounting profession’s favorites, Rep. Jeb Hensarling,
R-Texas, is in line to assume the chairmanship of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and
Consumer Credit. Hensarling received
more than $37,000 in contributions
from accounting PACs in 2010.
This year’s elections will have less
of an impact on Senate committee
assignments and leadership slots
— though on the Finance Committee,
one key Democrat supported heavily by accounting PACs — Arkansas’
Blanche Lincoln — was defeated in her
re-election bid. — Ken Rankin
CAPITOL HILL RESHUFFLE
contributions went to incumbents, a number
of whom were defeated by Tea Party candidates and other insurgent Republicans.
A DIFFERENT STRATEGY
;ere is a school of thought that supports the
strategy employed by the profession’s PACs,
arguing that current ceilings on PAC campaign contributions — generally $10,000 per
candidate per election cycle — are too low to
enable any one PAC, or any one industry, to
give substantial assistance to a candidate.
Instead, PACs spread donations around to
leaders from both parties, and to members of
key committees, in hopes of currying favor
and providing their lobbyists with “access.”
From that standpoint, an argument can be
made that PAC men for accounting did get
Speaker of the House in January; Rep. Spencer
Bachus, R-Ala., the ranking minority member
of the House Financial Services Committee
and an early favorite to become chairman
of that panel; House Majority Leader Steny
Hoyer, D-Md., the top lieutenant to House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a continuing force
in the Democratic Party; and Rep. Eric Can-
tor, R-Va., the current House minority whip
who many predict may move up to majority
leader in the 112th Congress.
Here’s how the accounting profession’s PACs
performed during the 2010 election cycle:
The American Institute of CPAs: The
institute’s PAC raised nearly $1 million, and
spent every cent of that and more. Most of its
contributions went directly to individual candidates (nearly $580,000), with the rest given
to other PACs and related fundraising organizations. Republican candidates received
54 percent of the institute’s donations — a
signi;cant drop from 70 percent in the 2006
PricewaterhouseCoopers: ;e profession’s top-spending PAC this year, PwC’s political fundraising arm assembled a war chest
of over $2.5 million. Nearly $1.4 million was
doled out directly to candidates, with Republicans receiving 53 percent, with 46 percent
for Democrats, against a lopsided 70-to- 29
percent margin in 2006.
Deloitte: ;is PAC spent almost $2.5 million in 2010, and gave more than $1.3 million directly to House and Senate candidates.
During the previous mid-term election, Deloitte’s PAC contributed almost three times as
much to Republicans as to Democrats. ;is
year Democrats collected 43 percent, versus
56 percent for GOP candidates.
Ernst & Young: ;e E&Y PAC raised almost $2 million during the 2010 cycle, but
with less than three weeks to go before the
November elections, the group had donated
less than $700,000 directly to congressional
candidates. ;e money was split 56 percent
for Republicans and 43 percent for Democrats, versus 61 to 38 percent in 2006.
KPMG: This PAC paid out nearly $1.7
million for the 2010 elections, and has contributed over $900,000 of that to House and
Senate candidates. Republicans received 55
percent of that total, while Democrats got 44
percent. In 2006, the GOP enjoyed a 71-to- 28
Grant Thornton: GT spent more than
$213,000 during 2010, and contributed
$125,000 to federal candidates. Republicans
received the most ( 56 to 44 percent), but the
margin is down from the last mid-terms,
when GOP candidates collected 61 percent,
against 38 percent for Democrats.
;e National Society of Accountants:
;e society’s small PAC raised almost $50,000
during the 2010 cycle and donated $13,500 to
House candidates — all of it going to Democrats. Senate Finance Committee ranking
Republican Chuck Grassley received its only
Senate donation, $1,000. During the 2006
campaign, the NSA favored Republican candidates by a 70-to- 30 percent margin. AT