WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–President Barack Obama received more campaign cash from American International Group Inc. (AIG) employees in the 2008 election cycle than did any other candidate, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
Obama – the recipient of more than $104,000 in contributions – is among several politicians who accepted campaign cash from AIG employees but are now vilifying the embattled insurance giant. The company is 80% owned by the federal government, which has provided it with more than $170 billion in aid. It has become the subject of mounting congressional outrage over $165 million in bonus payouts made last week to employees in a division blamed for much of its losses.
Obama has expressed his anger over the company’s actions many times in recent days. But he accepted $104,332 from AIG employees during the 2008 election cycle, according Center for Responsive Politics data.
White House representatives didn’t return phone calls or emails seeking comment.
The Center for Responsive Politics tracks campaign contributions using data from the Federal Election Commission. The data include contributions from political action committees and individuals.
The group’s data show AIG employees in the past 20 years have made $9.3 million in contributions to federal candidates and parties. They contributed $644,218 to federal candidates in 2008 alone.
Employees in the company’s financial products division, the unit that last week paid out the $165 million in bonuses, made $142,978 in campaign contributions in 2008 – more than any other division within AIG.
Employees in that division, blamed for much of AIG’s financial troubles, have been top contributors to congressional campaigns since 2002, according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ data.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, D-Conn., in 2008 alone received $103,900 from AIG employees. The sum makes him the No. 2 recipient of AIG employees’ campaign funds in the latest election cycle.
Dodd has received more than $280,000 from AIG employees throughout his career.
A spokeswoman for Dodd didn’t respond to requests for comment.
AIG’s employees in the 2008 election cycle also made significant contributions to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont.; Vice President Joe Biden; Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., chairman of the House Financial Services Capital Markets, Insurance and Government-Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee; and former Sen. John Sununu, R-N.H., currently a member of the panel overseeing the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program.
Baucus has received $91,000 from AIG employees throughout his career, nearly one-third of it in the latest election cycle. The senator during his career has collected more money from AIG employees than from employees at any other entity.
A spokesman for the senator said Baucus is no longer accepting campaign money from employees of any company, including AIG, that has received aid through the government’s $700 billion financial industry rescue package.
Biden received nearly $20,000 in 2008 while Kanjorski received $12,000. Sununu received $18,500.
Kanjorski is chairman of the House subcommittee that held the Wednesday hearing at which AIG Chief Executive Edward Liddy appeared.
Meena Thiruvengadam, Dow Jones Newswires