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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

Group of 20 bipartisan senators back $1.2T infrastructure framework

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) arrives for a meeting with Senate Budget Committee Democrats in the Mansfield Room at the U.S. Capitol building on June 16, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Majority Leader and Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee are meeting to discuss how to move forward with the Biden Administrations budget proposal. Photo: Samuel Corum / Getty Images

A group of 10 Democratic and 10 Republican senators (the "G20") tasked with negotiating an infrastructure deal with the White House has released a statement in support of a $1.2 trillion framework.

Why it matters: Details regarding the plan have not yet been released, but getting 10 Republicans on board means the bill could get the necessary 60 votes to pass.

DOJ drops criminal probe, civil lawsuit against John Bolton over Trump book

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The Justice Department has closed its criminal investigation into whether President Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton disclosed classified information with his tell-all memoir, “The Room Where it Happened," according to a source with direct knowledge.

Why it matters: The move comes a year after the Trump administration tried to silence Bolton by suing him in federal court, claiming he breached his contract by failing to complete a pre-publication review for classified information. Prosecutors indicated they had reached a settlement with Bolton to drop the lawsuit in a filing on Wednesday.

Fed may raise rates sooner, as inflation is higher than expected

Feb chair Jerome Powell. Photo: Susan Walsh/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve kept rates unchanged at its latest policy meeting, but a shift in sentiment emerged as to how soon it should begin raising rates.

Why it matters: The Fed's rock-bottom rates policy and monthly asset purchases helped the U.S. markets avoid a meltdown during the COVID-19 crisis last year. But as the economy recovers, a chorus is growing for the Fed to at least consider a timeline for pulling back its support before things get overheated.