U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, elected in 1996, is ranking Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Armed Services Committee and the Special Committee on Aging.

Her top campaign donors reflect a blend of her committee assignments and home state interests, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks money in U.S. politics.

To calculate its top contributors list, CRP reviews federal campaign finance reports and totals donations from employees of companies, as well as any political action committees they’ve created. PACs are fundraising groups organized to advocate on behalf of certain political causes.

Overall, 58 percent of Collins’ campaign contributions have come from individuals and 36 percent from PACs. 

Her top contributors are:

General Dynamics, defense contractor and owner of Bath Iron Works, one of Maine’s largest employers. Collins, like most members of Congress from Maine, is a strong proponent for BIW in Washington, often working to prevent cuts to the Department of Defense’s shipbuilding budget.

Marriott International, a large hotel chain that lobbies Congress on issues from travel promotion to health care, labor and taxation. It is also part of a coalition pushing Congress to address immigration reform, an area of jurisdiction for Collins’ homeland security committee.

Raytheon Company, a U.S. defense contractor that specializes in defense technology and training, homeland and border security and cybersecurity. Collins makes policy decisions that impact several of Raytheon’s business interests through her seat on the homeland security, armed services and appropriations committees.

Ernst and Young, one of the world’s top four accounting firms. According to the CRP, it has worked to prevent increased government of the accounting industry. Collins was a key player in negotiating sweeping financial regulation reform passed earlier this year.

Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Maine, the biggest health insurance company in Maine with 78 percent of the market, according to a recent report by the Center for American Progress. Nationally, it also has a contract with the federal government to review and process Medicare claims, according to the CRP.

Four of the five top contributors to Collins are on the CRP’s ‘Heavy Hitters’ list – in the top 100 of all-time campaign donors between 1989 and 2010. Marriott International was not on the list.

Dave Levinthal of the CRP said Collins’ donors offer no surprises.

“These guys are in business, they want to make money,” he said of her donors.

“If it means making an investment in a lawmaker’s campaign to give them a chance at either defending their corporate bottom line or promoting their business interests, then most companies in their political equation are going to choose to write that check.”

MaineToday Media State House Reporter Rebekah Metzler can be contacted at 620-7016 or at:

[email protected]

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