Big Election 2012 Donations from Top General Counsel
During the final days of the 2012 election season, the national media continues to focus on the influence of corporations on political campaigns. For our in-house readers who are following both the campaigns and the fundraising races, CorpCounsel.com decided to look at how some highly paid general counsel are donating to candidates.
Donald de Brier, general counsel of California-based Occidental Petroleum Corporation, was one of the most generous GCs contributing to political campaigns during the 2011-2012 election season.
De Brier gave a total of $40,800, according to figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics and based on contributors filings with the Federal Election Commission.
Among general counsel names searched by CorpCounsel.com, De Brier gave the largest total amount. The names came from the top 10 chief lawyers of public companies listed in Corporate Counsel magazines GC Compensation Survey, plus the GCs of the three largest private companies in America listed by Forbes.
(It is possible there could be one or more general counsel below the top 10 who gave more than De Brier.)
De Brier covered his political bases, giving $5,000 each to Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), while donating $30,800 to the Republican National Committee. For reasons that were not disclosed, he also was refunded a previous $2,500 donation to presidential candidate Mitt Romney (R-MA).
Another big giver was Michael Fricklas, general counsel of New York-based Viacom Inc., who donated $30,630, all to Democratic candidates.
His contributions included $17,500 to the DNC Services Corp., also known as the Democratic National Committee; $5,000 to President Barack Obamas campaign; $3,000 to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY); $2,500 to Representative Howard Berman (D-CA); $1,000 each to Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and New York state assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), who is running for Congress; $380 to Viacom Internationals political action committee (PAC); and $250 to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT).
Altria Group Inc.s Diane Keane, who was first in our 2011 GC Comp survey, ranked third in the 2012 donation list. She gave a total of $14,320.
Keane donated $8,320 to the Altria Groups PAC; $2,500 each to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA); and $1,000 to Representative Tom Latham (R-IA).
Other givers among the 10 public company GCs:
- Paul Cappuccio, Time Warner Inc.: $10,000 to the Time Warner PAC.
- Russell Deyo, Johnson & Johnson: $5,000 to the Johnson & Johnson PAC.
- Alan Schnitzer, the Travelers Companies Inc.: $2,000 to Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA).
- Alan Braverman, the Walt Disney Company: $650, to Feinstein.
Some gave nothing at all. Thomas McCoy of Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Louis Briskman of CBS Corporation, and David Bernick of Philip Morris International Inc., were all listed with zero contributions.
At the three private companies searched, the general counsel each gave to one favorite candidate. Here are their donations:
- Laura Witte, of Minnesota-based Cargill Inc.: $500 to Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).
- Mark Holden, of Kansas-based Koch Industries: $500 to Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KN).
- Alberto Mora, of Virginia-based Mars Incorporated: $500 to President Obama.
See also: Tracking Obama and Romney's Top Corporate Contributors, CorpCounsel, October 2012; and Lawyers at top firms give big to Obama, The National Law Journal, October 2012.