WPP Donates $600,000-Plus to US Political Causes

15 January 2008

WASHINGTON, DC: That money oils the wheels of the Washington political machine will raise no eyebrows. But what might arch the odd superciliary is that affiliates of WPP Group currently top the list of British donors fanning overheated US politicians with hundred-dollar bills.

According to the US Federal Election Commission, Sir Martin Sorrell's aid brigade has donated a total of $656,527 (€443,989; £335,099) to candidates in the presidential, senate and congressional elections.

Of which Republican wannabes received 52% and Democrats 48%.

Runner-up to WPP in the UK's fund for needy US politicos is pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline, whose charitable giving ran to $433,316. Again, Republicans creamed the greater share (60%).

And languishing in third place is arms pusher BAE Systems, with a contribution of $426,677, fifty-two percent of which has fluttered into the outstretched hands of the GOP ['gallant old party', a term coined of the Republican Party in 1875].

But none of these corporate titans directly donated a single penny, as this would be illegal under US law.

Instead the moolah came from third parties and affiliates, in many cases from "voluntary" staff groups whose charitable zeal is to be commended.

And as if to prove that there's nothing so malleable as the English language, GSK tells it like it really is.

"Employees . . . give to candidates who share our interest in fostering an environment that is conducive to research and the development of new medicines. We believe it is important to be involved in the political process and we encourage our employees to become involved whatever their personal philosophy or perspective."

WPP spokesman Howard Paster opted for frankness. The company's massive handout, he explained, is the result of its ownership of ten political lobbying firms in the US capital. "We have a large number of staff who are politically active," he said.

Brit munificence, however, lags far behind that of America's legal profession whose members, The Huffington Post reveals, have to date collectively and voluntarily donated $866,349.

Data sourced from The Times (UK); additional content by WARC staff