Hedging bets German companies favored Trump party in midterm election donations

BASF, Telekom, Siemens, SAP were among the 17 firms contributing to PACs in the most expensive midterm election ever.
Willing to make a pact with the devil.

German companies jumped on the bandwagon for the most expensive US midterm election ever, as Bayer, Siemens, Telekom and others were among the donors contributing to the $4.7 billion campaign. The majority of the funds went to President Donald Trump’s Republicans.

Seventeen German companies contributed $2.63 million, according to an analysis of Center for Responsive Politics data by the German daily, Die Welt. The CRP data comes from the Federal Election Commission.

Neither companies nor foreigners can contribute directly to candidates. Rather, they donate to political action committees and these PACs then support individual candidates. It’s a system used by US companies as well as by foreign companies doing business in the US.


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The amounts are relatively small and not likely to have significantly influenced any results. Early returns suggested that Republicans enlarged their majority in the Senate and lost their majority in the House of Representatives.

BASF led the German companies, and was the third-largest foreign company, with $632,000. Deutsche Telekom followed with $604,000. Donations dropped off from this level with Fresenius Medical Care ponying up $296,000, Bayer, $264,000, and Siemens, $168,000. Firms contributing less than $100,000 included Allianz, Deutsche Bank, SAP and Daimler.

According to Welt’s analysis, 12 of the 17 German firms gave the majority of their contributions to Republican candidates. Schaeffler and Lanxess gave 100 percent to the GOP. On average, the 17 companies gave 59 percent of their donations to Republicans. Only ZF Friedrichshafen, Merck, SAP and Daimler favored Democrats.

Typically, donations to the midterm elections for all 435 House members and one-third of the 100 senators, are smaller than for the presidential elections, including those from the German companies.

Peter Mandrella is a reporter for Handelsblatt. Darrell Delamaide adapted this story for Handelsblatt Global. To contact the author: [email protected].