PracticeAccounting FirmsBig firms favour Bush in US presidential race

Big firms favour Bush in US presidential race

More than a million dollars has been raised by George W Bush's presidential election campaign in donations from staff and support groups within the big accountancy firms in the US.

Link: Bush launches corporate fraud taskforce

As of the end of May, the total donation from within PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young and Deloitte was worth a little over $1m (£544,000). PwC’s contribution made the firm and its staff the third-largest donor to the Bush campaign with $480,000 (£260,000).

Only financial aid from within the investment banks Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch tops donations from the Big Four firms. The figures, produced by the Centre for Responsive Politics in Washington, demonstrate that accountants in the US are among the most enthusiastic supporters of Bush serving a second term in office.

Corporates in the US are extremely sensitive to the issue of political donations and there are strict laws governing what can be donated and by whom.

Individuals are able to donate up to $25,000 to a political party, but companies are not permitted to give money. Individuals must declare where they work when handing over their money.

In many cases individuals hand their money over to a political action committee within a corporate body and it is the committee that then makes the donation.

PwC was unwilling to comment on the extent of donations from employees, though sources within the firm were keen to make clear its position under the law.

The accountancy figures are a marked change on the presidential campaign for 2000. In that election Ernst & Young was the biggest donor to Al Gore, the Democrat candidate. But the firm was also the largest accountancy donor to Bush.

The incumbent president has so far raised $200m for his 2004 campaign, 98% of which is classified as ‘individual’ donations.

Democratic Party challenger John Kerry has gained less through fund raising and is less popular among accountancy donors. He has raised just half as much as Bush, $105m, and none of the big firms appears in his top 20 donors. In total Bush has received $1.6m from accountants while Kerry has so far gained only $373,000.

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