The five industry groups that have made the most campaign contributions this year have tended to donate more to Republicans than to Democrats, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
In the presidential race, however, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton leads Republican rival Donald Trump in contributions from four of these five groups.
Following is a look at top five industries or demographic categories that are leading in making campaign contributions and the top three donors in each of these industries. All data are from the Center for Responsive Politics.
1. Securities & Investment
Total Contribution: $321.66 million
Industry Sector: Financial/Insurance/Real Estate
Industry's Donations to Clinton: $5.75 million
Industry's Donations to Trump: $93,304
The Securities & Investment industry has contributed the most among the more than 130 industries or groups that Center for Responsive Politics tracks. Among industries, it's also among the top 10 in lobbying spending, with lobbying efforts worth $49.5 million in 2016.
The Securities & Investment Industry contributed approximately $321.66 million to federal candidates, parties and outside groups. Clinton has so far been the top recipient with $5.75 million from the industry, vs. $93,304 for Trump.
In the wake of the 2010 Citizens United case, the industry has seen a significant increase in so-called "soft money" or outside contributions. In 2016 the industry's soft money or outside contributions totaled more than $206 million.
The leading contributors in this industry are:
- Renaissance Technologies - $33.2 million
- Elliott Management - $17.9 million
- Paloma Partners - $14.1 million
Total Contribution: $252.8 million
Clinton: $30.5 million
Trump: $3.8 million
In the federal documents, if individuals check their occupation as "retired" then they belong to the retired "industry" category. This group has made a total of $252.8 million dollars in the 2016 election cycle. But the contributions have been in very small sums from many different donors. The maximum contribution of the top donor from this industry is a retiree or retirees from a company called Generac.
Overall, this category has contributed more to Republicans than to Democrats, but it has contributed eight times more to Clinton's campaign than to Donald Trump's.
The leading contributors to this industry group are:
- Retired from Generac - $33,400
- Retired/U.S. Dept. of Defense - $7,635
- Retired - $6,210
3. Real Estate
Total Contribution: $136.8 million
Sector: Financial/Insurance/Real Estate
Clinton: $6.6 million
Ranked No. 3 in 2016 is the real estate industry, with $136.8 million in political contributions. The industry has been an active lobbying participant with lobbying efforts worth $40.5 million in 2016.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, from 1998-2016, the real estate industry has spent close to a $1.3 billion on lobbying and influencing the decisions of policymakers.
The leading contributors in this industry are:
- Wilks Brothers - $15.39 million
- National Association of Realtors - $5.91 million
- Depot Landmark LLC - $2.95 million
4. Lawyers & Law Firms
Total Contribution: $116.8 million
Sector: Lawyer & Lobbyists
Clinton: $21.35 million
Lawyers & Law Firms have contributed $116.8 million to federal candidates, parties and Outside Groups. This is the one category among the top five that contributed more to Democrats than to Republicans in 2016.
The Center for Responsive Politics reports that during the 2012 presidential campaign, President Obama received as much as $27.7 million from Lawyers & Law Firms. This trend of huge donations to Democrats has continued in 2016 with Clinton receiving close to $21.3 million from this industry.
The top law/law firms that are leading contributors to the industry are:
- Akin, Gum et al - $1.86 million
- American Association for Justice - $1.74 million
- Kirkland and Ellis - $1.37 million
5. Oil & Gas
Total Contribution: $66 million
Sector: Energy/Natural Resources
The Oil and Gas industry remains a vital part of the U.S. economy and its role remains equally important during election campaigns with contributions close to $66 million.
It clearly remains loyal to the Republicans with about 90% of its contributions to the Republican party in 2016 elections. Clinton's campaign receives little from this industry in comparison to the other industries.
Interestingly, this industry ranks in the top five lobbying industries with lobbying efforts worth $61 million in 2016. The contributions by the three leading contributors in oil and gas industry are:
- Koch Industries - $8.42 million
- Chevron - $4.09 million
- Stewart & Stevenson - $3.82 million
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.