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

Updated 27 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Voters in Wisconsin, Michigan urged to return absentee ballots to drop boxes

Signs for Joe Biden are seen outside a home in Coon Valle, Wisconsin, on Oct. 3. Photo by KEREM YUCEL via Getty

Wisconsin Democrats and the Democratic attorney general of Michigan are urging voters to return absentee ballots to election clerks’ offices or drop boxes, warning that the USPS may not be able to deliver ballots by the Election Day deadline.

Driving the news: The Supreme Court rejected an effort by Wisconsin Democrats and civil rights groups to extend the state's deadline for counting absentee ballots to six days after Election Day, as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 3. In Michigan, absentee ballots must also be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day in order to be counted.

34 mins ago - Technology

Facebook warns of "perception hacks" undermining trust in democracy

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Facebook warned Tuesday that bad actors are increasingly taking to social media to create the false perception that they’ve pulled off major hacks of electoral systems or have otherwise seriously disrupted elections.

Why it matters: "Perception hacking," as Facebook calls it, can have dire consequences on people's faith in democracy, sowing distrust, division and confusion among the voters it targets.

Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage"

Former President Barack Obama launched a blistering attack on President Trump while campaigning for Joe Biden in Orlando on Tuesday, criticizing Trump for complaining about the pandemic as cases soar and joking that he's "jealous of COVID's media coverage."

Driving the news: Trump has baselessly accused the news media of only focusing on covering the coronavirus pandemic — which has killed over 226,000 Americans so far and is surging across the country once again — as a way to deter people from voting on Election Day and distract from other issues.