Oct 5, 2020 - Economy & Business

Private equity's lobbying group donates more to Republicans

Illustration of Benjamin Franklin with a vote button
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Private equity's top trade group is favoring Republicans in next month's federal elections, but is contributing fewer overall dollars than in past cycles.

By the numbers: The American Investment Council PAC has donated over $243,000 to House and Senate candidates and committees since the 2018 elections, of which around 65% has gone to Republicans, according to an Axios analysis of Federal Election Commission records.

  • AIC PAC donated over $405,000 in the 2018 cycle (67% to Republicans) and over $324,000 in the 2016 cycle (58% to Republicans), per OpenSecrets.
  • It has never contributed to presidential candidates of either party, as a matter of policy.
  • A source familiar with the group's donations says that the lower total this cycle reflects fundraising difficulties caused by the pandemic.

Inside the numbers: AIC is betting on status quo when it comes to congressional control.

  • Eight of the nine Senate candidates it supports are Republicans, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and threatened incumbents like Susan Collins and Thom Tillis. AIC also donated $30,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, via donations in 2019 and 2020.
  • 22 of the 38 House candidates it supports are Democrats, including Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.
  • AIC has not yet filed its full September report, which is expected show additional donations.

What they're saying: An AIC spokesperson tells Axios: "The AIC PAC contributes to elected officials from both sides of the aisle who support legislation and policies that will encourage more private investment across the country.”

  • The spokesperson declined to detail those legislative and policy objectives.
  • AIC's website, however, reflects key priorities as maintaining preferential tax treatment for carried interest and capital gains, maintaining interest deductibility, and CFIUS reforms.

The bottom line: Most private equity contributions to politicians are done on an individual basis, such as Blackstone Group CEO Steve Schwarzman donating over $28 million to President Trump and other GOP causes, but AIC PAC contributions reflect the overall industry's political goals.

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