By Michael Dorausch, D.C.
For the first time since the 1994 election cycle, donation records show chiropractors gave more money to Democrats versus Republicans. Bill Clinton was president of the United States in 1994 and chiropractors political donations for that year showed 65% going to Democrats versus 34% going to Republicans. But for the following six election cycles (1996 through 2006), records show chiropractors made the majority of their political donations to Republicans, and it appears now 2008 is a time for change.
The chart below shows long-term contribution trends of political donations made by chiropractors. The first election cycle recorded is for 1990 and figures include donations made as of September during this year’s 2008 election cycle. The left side of the chart shows individual donations, political action committee donations, and soft money. The right side of the chart shows donations made to both the Republican and Democratic parties. Three election cycles that stand out are 1992 and 1994 (with majority of funds going to Democrats) and 2004 (with majority of funds going to Republicans).
I covered a breakdown of chiropractic money in 2008 politics and elections back in January of this year, and there hasn’t been much change in donation patterns since that time. The year 2000 was the only time chiropractors show a 50-50 split with equal donations being made to both parties. I guess that year the industry wanted to be on both sides of the fence. Following the 2000 election cycle chiropractic contributions tended to lean towards Republican candidates. A different picture is painted for 2008 with 57% being shown going to Democrats versus 43% going to Republicans. There is still two months of donation data to collect, we will revisit those numbers when the data comes in.
In order to display all the data, one chart was split into two parts. This first chart to the left shows the election cycle, total contributions, contributions from individuals, and contributions from PACs. In the industry of chiropractic, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), is the top contributor to political candidates.
According to the chart, there has been a decline in contributions made to both parties since the 2004 election cycle. Those numbers may change after donation data comes in for these final two months (October and November). Data for the current election cycle (released by the Federal Election Commission) shows political action committee contributions totaling $242,290.00. That’s about $15,000 shy of what was seen during the 2006 election cycle.
Contributions from individuals currently total at $508,253.00, which is about $12,000 shy of the $520,000 and change contributed by individual chiropractors during the 2006 election cycle.
The 3 election cycles marked with a * do not include donations of “Levin” funds to state and local party committees. Levin funds were created by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002. Soft money contributions to the national parties were not publicly disclosed until the 1991-92 election cycle, and were banned by the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act following the 2002 elections.
Picture this chart to the left side-by-side with the chart above. It shows soft-money contributions, donations to Democrats, donations to Republicans, and percentages to both Dems and Repubs.
A note on methodology: the numbers shown are based on contributions of $200 or more from PACs and individuals to federal candidates and from PAC, soft money and individual donors to political parties, as reported to the Federal Election Commission. While election cycles are shown in charts as 1996, 1998, 2000 etc. they actually represent two-year periods. For example, the 2002 election cycle runs from January 1, 2001 to December 31, 2002.
Political donation data is provided by the Center for Responsive Politics. Data for the current election cycle were released by the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday, September 02, 2008.
Here’s a brief background on what the Center for Responsive Politics has to say on the chiropractic industry…
An industry that has strongly supported Republican candidates during recent election cycles, chiropractors now join other health care professionals in efforts to halt payment cuts resulting from recent changes in the Medicare system. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA), a top industry contributor to federal candidates, committees and parties, has urged Congress to require that the Department of Defense make chiropractic health care available to all active duty military personnel and to increase chiropractic care for veterans.
Chiropractors lobby in Washington on health care and insurance issues, but that’s not all this industry cares about. Often, chiropractors also lobby the executive branch of government to ensure that chiropractic care will be included in federal employees’ medical benefits.
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