Federal employees rank high on list of Obama campaign donors

Barack Obama spoke in Chicago after he won reelection Tuesday evening. Barack Obama spoke in Chicago after he won reelection Tuesday evening. Carolyn Kaster/AP

In a solid fourth-place in the ranking of entities contributing to President Obama’s reeelection campaign is the U.S. government, according to a data just released by the OpenSecrets.org project of the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics.

Behind top totals from individual donors employed by, in rank order, the University of California, Microsoft Corp. and Google, were federal employees who together gave Obama $627,628. In separate, agency-specific counts, State Department employees gave $308,926, and Justice Department folks donated $300,455 to the Democrat, the top listings show. By contrast, Republican Mitt Romney campaign’s top donors were employed chiefly by investment banks.

As the center’s website explains, the donations are made by individuals not the entity itself. Under federal law, all contributions of more than $200 must be itemized and the donor's occupation and employer must be requested and disclosed. The listings, however, “capture only a subset of donations,” because many others are made by a company or nonprofit’s political action committee or company owners or their families while some donations are “bundled” and thus hard to track, the center said.

One reason for the high totals from federal employees, Viveca Novak, a spokeswoman for Opensecrets.org, told Government Executive is that “any administration will have political appointees whose employer will be listed, and they will naturally want to help with the reelection of the person who put them in the job.”

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