UPDATE: Following the money in Delaware politics

UPDATE: Common Cause has retracted its earlier report due to a “spreadsheet error”.  The change moves AstraZeneca to fifth place on its list of top 20 donors in Delaware politics.  

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This article has been edited to reflect changes made in the initial Common Cause report.  According to Common Cause’s James Browning, the original report mistakenly included two non-Delaware committees in its study of contributions to state candidates, committees, and parties

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In an effort to shine a light on lobbying activity in Legislative Hall, a new report issued today by Common Cause Delaware lists the top 20 donors in Delaware politics.  

The group’s original report incorrectly reported that AstraZeneca made $693,000 in campaign contributions from 2007 to 2012.  That number has been corrected to show that AZ made just $82,609 in donations.  That moves the pharmaceutical giant down from the number one spot to number five.  Earlier this year, the company announced plans to slash 1,200 jobs in the First State, which could also impact future political donations AZ makes in Delaware.

The First State Manufactured Housing group and it’s executives took the top spot giving the most to Delaware politicos, with $133,964 in donations.  The report found the group’s top priority in 2012 was defeating SB 205, a bill that would have put restrictions on the way manufactured home landlords can increase prices for their renters.  The bill was defeated in the state House with 22 ‘no’ votes compared to just 14 ‘yes’ votes.  

Following the money, the report found that the state representatives who voted no received an average of $1,140 each from First State Manufactured Housing.  That’s eight times higher than the donations the company gave to representatives who voted in favor of the bill, which averaged out to just $139.

Here’s the complete list of the top 20 donors to Delaware political parties and candidates from 2007-2012:

First State Manufactured Housing, $134,964
Delaware Racing Association, $126,203
Carpenters Union PAC, $100,240
Delaware State Education Association, $97,797
AstraZeneca, $82,609
Young, Conaway, Stargatt, and Taylor, $80,150
E.I. DuPont Nemours, $75,685
Wilmington Trust Bank PAC, $63,080
The Byrd Group, $59,717
DE Chamber of Commerce PAC, $59,025
Laborers Political League, $58,699
Foster & Lynette Friess, $54,415
Civic Affairs Construction Council, $54,350
Law PAC, $54,300
Bricklayers Union PAC, $50,795
Altria (previously Philip Morris), $50,750
AT&T, $50,100
Delaware Pilots Assoc. for Bay & River, $49,450
DENPAC (Dental Association), $47,200
Cozen O’Connor LLP, $47,175

Common Cause Delaware will host a forum examining the issue of money in politics in light of this report on Wednesday night in Lewes. National Common Cause President Bob Edgar, the former Delaware County, Pa Congressman, was supposed to be the keynote speaker.  Instead, the dinner will turn into an event to honor his memory after he collapsed and died last Wednesday. The event will be held at Fish On Seafood Grill & Bar in Lewes Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

You can read the complete revised report below.

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