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Who Gives? An Occupational Profile of Large Donor Contributions to the MN US House Delegation

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Minnesota's eight-member U.S. House delegation raised more than $1.6 million last quarter, according to the latest Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports. Large donor individual donations accounted for about half of that total, or approximately $800,000.

So, who are these private citizens pouring nearly $1 million into the campaign war chests of Minnesota's representatives?

Smart Politics analyzed each of the more than 1,100 itemized individual contributions to Minnesota's U.S. Representatives from last quarter to conduct an occupational profile of those sinking large amounts of money into Minnesota politics.

Individual large donor contributions are those in amounts of $200 or more, or less than that amount if the individual has contributed in excess of $200 cumulatively during the current election cycle. The profession of the individual donor was listed on the vast majority of itemized contributions (approximately 95 percent).

Smart Politics grouped these professions into 28 categories from which over 90 percent of funds raised last quarter could be classified. An additional 1.9 percent of funds came from a variety of other professions, and 5.7 percent of funds came from those whose profession was not provided on the FEC forms.

Individual Large Donor Contributions to Minnesota U.S. Representatives, Q2 2009

Rank
Occupation
Total
Percent
1
Business: owner, executive officers
$290,300
36.3
2
Retirees
$87,705
11.0
3
Doctors / Dentists
$54,550
6.8
4
Homemakers
$50,815
6.3
5
Attorneys
$49,225
6.1
6
Finance / investors / banking
$47,050
5.9
7
Contractors / construction
$26,085
3.3
8
Business: mid-level executives
$19,875
2.5
9
Consultants
$19,750
2.5
10
Self-employed
$18,270
2.3
11
Engineers
$12,550
1.6
12
Farmers
$10,675
1.3
13
Lobbyists
$10,151
1.3
14
Sales
$8,900
1.1
15
Teachers
$6,375
0.8
16
Real estate
$6,000
0.7
17
Professors
$5,450
0.7
18
Government employees
$4,325
0.5
19
Health care industry (admin.)
$2,250
0.3
20
Business: entry level
$2,200
0.3
21
Insurance
$1,900
0.2
22
Nursing
$1,450
0.2
23
Accounting
$1,010
0.1
24
Computers
$800
0.1
25
Marketing
$600
0.1
26
Students
$500
0.1
26
Media
$500
0.1
28
Clergy
$350
0.0
 
Other
$15,270
1.9
 
None listed
$45,600
5.7
 
Total
$800,481
100.0
Note: FEC data compiled by Smart Politics.

Not surprisingly, most large donor contributions to the Minnesota U.S. House delegation came from business owners and executive officers, tallying 36.3 percent of such donations. Other professionals giving significant amounts of money were physicians and dentists (#3, 6.8 percent), attorneys (#5, 6.1 percent), and those working in finance, stocks, or banking (#6, 5.9 percent).

However, a significant amount of large donor contributions came from retired individuals (#2, 11.0 percent) and homemakers (#4, 6.3 percent). Donations by these individuals were directed overwhelmingly towards Minnesota's Republican representatives.

John Kline (MN-01), Michele Bachmann (MN-06), and Erik Paulsen (MN-03) were the recipients of 93.7 percent of the more than $50,800 donated by homemakers last quarter. Such funds accounted for 12.8 percent of all large donor contributions raised by Bachmann, for 11.4 percent of such funds raised by Kline, and for 9.1 percent raised by Paulsen. Minnesota's five DFL Representatives (Tim Walz, Betty McCollum, Keith Ellison, Colin Peterson, James Oberstar) only received $3,215 from this group of individuals who displayed an obvious partisan tilt to their campaign giving.

Kline, Bachmann, and Paulsen also received 70.5 percent, or $61,805, of the money donated from retirees, with the five DFL U.S. Representatives receiving just $25,900 from this group. The representatives from Minnesota's two most conservative districts, Bachmann and Kline, were particularly targeted by retired individuals, who gave large sums to their campaigns. Bachmann received 18.6 percent of her large donor fundraising from this group, with Kline at 17.8 percent.

While Minnesota's three GOP Representatives received a disproportionate amount of funds from business owners and executive officers ($175,650), DFLers were able to raise $114,650 from such individuals, or just shy of 40 percent. Transportation Committee Chair Jim Oberstar accounted for 42 percent of the DFL haul from this group ($48,150).

Overall, Representatives Kline, Bachmann, and Paulsen received at least 60 percent of the large donor funds raised last quarter from 10 different professions (Note: contributions from some professions tallied only small totals during this period).

Professions Backing Minnesota's Republican Representatives, Q2 2009

Occupation
GOP
DFL
Total
Percent
Accountants
100.0
0.0
$1,010
0.1
Computers
100.0
0.0
$800
0.1
Students
100.0
0.0
$500
0.1
Media
100.0
0.0
$500
0.1
Clergy
100.0
0.0
$350
0.0
Homemakers
93.7
6.3
$50,815
6.3
Sales
86.0
14.0
$8,900
1.1
Business: entry level
77.3
22.7
$2,200
0.3
Retirees
70.5
29.5
$87,705
11.0
Business: owner, executive officers
60.5
39.5
$290,300
36.3
Note: Final column represents the total percent of large donor individual funds given by that profession to Minnesota's U.S. House delegation. FEC data compiled by Smart Politics.

While there were some occupations from which DFLers had relative success in raising money vis-à-vis the GOP (professors, farmers, engineers, lobbyists, government employees, real estate agents, doctors and dentists, non-practitioner health care industry workers, mid-level business executives, contractors, and those in marketing), the overall contributions from these groups were much lower than from those top groups which gave to Republicans (e.g. homemakers, retirees, business owners).

In fact, the sum total of contributions by professions in which DFLers raised at least 60 percent of last quarter's donations to Minnesota's U.S. House delegation totaled nearly $20,000 less in contributions ($109,926) than donations received by John Kline and Erik Paulsen from business owners and executives alone ($127,525).

Professions Backing Minnesota's DFL Representatives, Q2 2009

Occupation
DFL
GOP
Total
Percent
Professors
98.2
1.8
$5,450
0.7
Farmers
96.5
3.5
$10,675
1.3
Engineers
94.0
6.0
$12,550
1.6
Lobbyists
87.7
12.3
$10,151
1.3
Marketing
83.3
16.7
$600
0.1
Government employees
72.3
27.7
$4,325
0.5
Real estate
67.5
32.5
$6,000
0.7
Health care industry (admin.)
66.7
33.3
$2,250
0.3
Doctors / Dentists
66.0
34.0
$54,550
6.8
Business: mid-level executives
62.1
37.9
$19,875
2.4
Contractors / construction
61.5
38.5
$26,085
3.3
Note: Final column represents the total percent of large donor individual funds given by that profession to Minnesota's U.S. House delegation. FEC data compiled by Smart Politics.

There were only a handful of professions which doled out their contributions to Minnesota representatives last quarter on a relatively equal basis. DFLers had the edge among attorneys (59.8 to 40.2 percent), consultants (57.9 to 42.1 percent), and insurance workers (54.4 to 45.6 percent), while Republicans had the edge among investors and bankers (58.6 to 41.4 percent), nurses (58.6 to 41.4 percent), teachers (54.5 to 45.5 percent), and the self-employed (54.2 to 45.8 percent) .

Every one of the eight Representatives, except for DFLer Betty McCollum, led the way in fundraising among at least one of the more than two-dozen occupations profiled in this analysis:

Tim Walz led in large donor contributions from professors, government employees, and non-practicioner workers in the health care industry.

John Kline led in donations from business owners and executive officers.

Erik Paulsen, who set the pace with 24 percent of all large donor funds raised, received the largest amount of money from attorneys, investors and bankers, mid-level business executives, retirees, homemakers (tied), and teachers.

Keith Ellison raised the most money from physicians and dentists and those in the real estate industry.

Michele Bachmann received the most money from those in sales, nursing, entry level business positions, accountants, students, the media, the clergy, homemakers (tied), and those working with computers.

Colin Peterson received the most contributions from farmers and those in the insurance industry.

Jim Oberstar received the most money from engineers, contractors, lobbyists, the self-employed, consultants, and those in marketing.

Large donor contributions by Minnesotans accounted for approximately 60 percent of all such individual itemized funds raised by its eight U.S. Representatives ($478,156), with slightly more than $300,000 coming from out of state.

Among this subset of Minnesotans, business owners and executives again contributed the most money, tallying 39.9 percent of these donations. More than 80 percent of Minnesota business owners and executives donated to the Republican trio of Kline, Paulsen, and Bachmann.

Minnesota retirees (14.3 percent) and homemakers (8.7 percent) gave the next most money, with Republicans benefiting to the tune of 76 and 95 percent of the funds donated by such individuals respectively.

Individual Large Donor Contributions by Minnesotans to Minnesota U.S. Representatives, Q2 2009

Rank
Occupation
Total
Percent
GOP
DFL
1
Business: owner, executive officers
$191,000
39.9
81.3
18.7
2
Retirees
$72,325
15.1
76.1
23.9
3
Homemakers
$42,150
8.8
95.1
4.9
4
Attorneys
$32,725
6.8
55.5
45.5
5
Finance / investors / banking
$25,650
5.4
69.2
30.8
6
Doctors / Dentists
$24,400
5.1
48.8
51.2
7
Contractors / construction
$10,085
2.1
97.5
2.5
8
Self-employed
$9,720
2.0
84.9
15.1
9
Sales
$7,900
1.7
96.8
3.2
10
Consultants
$7,700
1.6
74.0
26.0
11
Business: mid-level executives
$6,700
1.4
76.1
23.9
12
Farmers
$5,425
1.1
6.9
93.1
13
Professors
$3,450
0.7
2.9
97.1
14
Government employees
$3,075
0.6
22.8
77.2
15
Real estate
$2,750
0.6
36.4
63.6
16
Teachers
$2,500
0.5
100.0
0.0
17
Lobbyists
$2,151
0.4
11.6
88.4
18
Health care industry (admin.)
$2,000
0.4
25.0
75.0
19
Nursing
$850
0.2
64.7
35.3
20
Accounting
$700
0.1
100.0
0.0
21
Insurance
$650
0.1
84.6
15.4
22
Computers
$550
0.1
100.0
0.0
23
Business: entry level
$500
0.1
100.0
0.0
24
Engineers
$150
0.0
100.0
0.0
25
Clergy
$100
0.0
100.0
0.0
 
Other
$6,150
1.3
59.3
40.7
 
N/A
$17,300
3.6
20.5
79.5
 
Total
$478,156
100.0
 
 
Note: FEC data compiled by Smart Politics.

Overall, Kline, Bachmann, and Paulsen raised 75.1 percent of all large donor contributions from Minnesota residents to its eight U.S. Representatives last quarter.

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Next post: Why Campaign Contributions by Homemakers to MN U.S. Representatives Are Not Part of a 'Shell Game'

3 Comments


  • I like this article. I would also note that one should check who the homemakers are married to or who the parents are. The analysis is misleading if there is a shell game going on, which based on a few of my researches, there is!

  • "Overall, Kline, Bachmann, and Paulsen raised 75.1 percent of all large donor contributions from Minnesota residents to its eight U.S. Representatives last quarter."

    I don't understand this sentence.

    The subject is Kline, Bachmann & Paulsen - verb is raised - then I get lost -

    75 percent of large donor contributions to its 8 U.S. representatives last quarter . . .

    the pronoun 'its' doesn't seem a good match to subject - and seems to imply 'ownership' of 8 U.S. reps is by Kline, Bachmann & Paulsen.

    end of sentence structure critique
    # # #


    A very interesting fact in the listing is that Congressman Ellison, who is a vocal proponent of Health Care Reform, had the most contributions from physicians and dentists. Should this be interpreted as an indicator that health care providers want health care reform?

  • Leave a comment


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