Global in their reach and catholic in their taste, folk at Ernst & Young International in the US have reacted conservatively to this year’s presidential showdown. The firm’s generous US arm is playing it safe and guaranteeing its winning ticket by backing both candidates, Al Gore and George Bush, to the tune of six figure donations. Although the firm tops the corporate donation table for Gore with $125,125 thrown into the Democrat war chest, the princely sum of $154,799 has been dug out of another pocket for Republican dynastic pretender Bush. It has also contributed $65,500 to the campaign of Gore’s rival, Bill Bradley. Over at Andersen Worldwide, however, caution, balance and opportunism have been thrown to the wind. The firm has coughed up $161,400 for good old fashioned right-wing values to pip Ernst & Young to fourth place in the Bush funds league. Watchdogs of the Stateside application of oily arts, the Centre for Responsive Politics, compiled the charts from March federal data and believe that contributions this year could exceed the #1bn mark despite vocal calls for campaign finance reform. ‘I’ve been raising and giving money to Democrats for 30 years,’ Ernst & Young retired senior executive Jeffrey Hirschberg told the Wall Street Journal. ‘It’s Civics 101: get involved.’ Civic 102, we would assume, is to hedge your bets and involve your cash in both sides’ expensive TV cheesemongering and razzmatazz. Now, that’s … politics.