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Expand chart
Data: Contribution amounts are from the Center for Responsive Politics as of Oct. 26, 2018; the company list is from Fortune 500; and company sectors are from Yahoo Finance and original research. Get the data. Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

A slim majority of the midterm congressional campaign contributions from America's biggest companies have gone to Republican candidates, an Axios analysis of federal election data shows.

Why it matters: America's wealthy companies are able to influence elections by financially supporting candidates whose positions align with their values — or who they believe can help their businesses. But even more often, they support both sides, ensuring access to whomever ends up in power.

The chart above shows 495 of the 500 largest U.S. companies by revenue. Five were missing from the OpenSecrets database, which Axios used for this analysis.

  • The companies' size is based on the combined contributions from their political action committees and individual employees who gave at least $200.
  • They are grouped from top to bottom according to their economic sector. Sectors that gave a larger share of their contributions to Republicans are on top, while sectors that preferred Democrats are towards the bottom.

By the numbers: Employees and PACs affiliated with Fortune 500 companies have given more than $180 million to congressional candidates in the 2017–2018 campaign cycle.

  • Republican candidates received nearly $93 million, or 52% of the Fortune 500's spending. About $86 million, or 48%, went to Democrats.
  • The energy sector, which includes fossil fuel companies like Exxon Mobil and Chevron, gave more than four-fifths of its $8.5 million in contributions to Republicans.
  • But the technology sector gave about three-quarters of its $17.7 million to Democrats. The largest overall contributor, Google's parent Alphabet, gave about 86% of its $4.7 million to Democrats.

The bottom line: “Certain industries lean right or left, but major corporations generally hedge their bets—favoring the party in power, but delivering hefty sums to both sides—and on that score, 2018 is no different,” said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, the watchdog group that maintains OpenSecrets.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Scoop: Beto plans Texas comeback in governor's race

Former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke speaks during the Georgetown to Austin March for Democracy rally on July 31, 2021 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke is preparing to run for governor of Texas in 2022, with an announcement expected later this year, Texas political operatives tell Axios.

Why it matters: O'Rourke's entry would give Democrats a high-profile candidate with a national fundraising network to challenge Republican Gov. Greg Abbott — and give O’Rourke, a former three-term congressman from El Paso and 2020 presidential candidate and voting rights activist, a path to a political comeback.

Texas doctor says he performed an abortion in violation of state law

Pro-choice protesters march down Congress Avenue and back to the Texas state capitol in Austin, Tx in July 2021. Photo: Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

A Texas doctor disclosed in an op-ed in the Washington Post Saturday that he has performed an abortion in violation of the state's restrictive new abortion law, which bans effectively bans the procedure after six weeks.

Why it matters: Alan Braid's op-ed is a direct disclosure that will very likely result in legal action, thereby setting it up as a potential test case for how the abortion ban will be litigated, notes the New York Times.

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - Technology

Axios interview: Facebook to try for more transparency

Nick Clegg last year. Photo: Matthew Sobocinski/USA Today via Reuters

Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president of global affairs, tells me the company will try to provide more data to outside researchers to scrutinize the health of activity on Facebook and Instagram, following The Wall Street Journal's brutal look at internal documents.

Driving the news: Clegg didn't say that in his public response to the series. So I called him to push for what Facebook will actually do differently given the new dangers raised by The Journal.