The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

2 May 2004

One word: plastic

An interesting sidebar in the May/June Mother Jones by Dave Gilson and Jennifer Hahn, who put together a list of the ten largest credit-card issuers and matched it up to the political contributions collected from them by the major parties from 2000 through February 2004. Admittedly, this is an issue to which I give not a whole lot of thought; my major concern with a credit card is trying to reduce the amount of interest and fees collected from me.

Citigroup, the largest card issuer, has forked over $8.8 million in contributions, more or less evenly distributed between Democrats and Republicans, the GOP having a slight edge. For six of the other nine, the GOP has more than a slight edge: #2 MBNA has paid out $6.3 million, over $5 million of which went to the Republicans — which is no surprise, since recently-retired MBNA chairman Charles Cawley is a major Bush fan — and #3 Bank One sent two-thirds of its $3.3 million to the GOP.

In the other direction? Well, there's Providian, probably by no coincidence the issuer of a Democratic Party affinity card, whose contributions total just under a million dollars, 53 percent of which went into Democratic coffers.

And if you're thinking that maybe you'd just as soon have a card company that doesn't spend a lot on political contributions, your best pick among the top ten is Capital One, which peeled off less than $900,000.

Posted at 9:45 AM to Common Cents , Political Science Fiction