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MO: Honeywell offers hearty financial support to state’s congressional candidates

By   /   July 23, 2012  /   No Comments

By Johnny Kampis | Missouri Watchdog

ST. LOUIS — Honeywell International is one of the top campaign contributors in Missouri’s congressional races, though Republicans aren’t always the beneficiaries.

An analysis of Federal Election Commission reports by the Center for Responsive Politics shows Honeywell International’s political action committee has given nearly $2.3 million to candidates for Congress across the United States, with 10 running for U.S. House or Senate in Missouri reaping nearly $60,000.

Headquartered in Morris Township, N.J., Honeywell manufactures thousands of products for a variety of sectors. Honeywell’s Kansas City plant is a National Nuclear Security Administration site that produces non-nuclear components and systems for nuclear weapons. A plant in Columbia focuses on security systems.

What’s the company’s strategy in Missouri?

“Honeywell’s political action committee supports those who support the policies that are most important to our business and will help the American economy grow and add new American jobs over the long-term,” said spokesman Rob Ferris.

Outside spending continues to pour into the Show Me State as the Aug. 7 primary election looms. Missouri Watchdog reported last week that Sen. Claire McCaskill’s biggest supporter was EMILY’s List, who gave the Democratic incumbent $177,000.

Honeywell is the second biggest PAC contributor to federal campaigns in 2012, the analysis shows.

The company is 77th on the 2012 Fortune 500 list, with $27 billion in revenue.

CRP reports that outside spending by PACs and corporations has reached more than $200 million in the 2012 election cycle.

Voter advocacy group Common Cause said the gap in campaign contributions between individuals and these large and often mysterious organizations continues to grow.

“That’s the concern at the end of the day,” said spokeswoman Mary Boyle, “that the voices of voters will not be heard.”

All 10 of the Missouri candidates receiving handouts from Honeywell are serving in Congress. In two of the cases the recipients are running for another office. U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, a Republican, is giving up his House seat to challenge McCaskill in the

Todd Akin

Senate race. U.S. Reps. Russ Carnahan and William Lacy Clay Jr., both Democrats, are running against each other in House District 1 due to post-Census redistricting.

Honeywell has given $10,000 each to Carnahan, Akin, House District 5 Democrat Emanuel Cleaver and House District 8 Republican Jo Ann Emerson.

That’s the most the PAC can contribute to each candidate due to FEC limits — $5,000 each for the primary and general elections.

McCaskill and House District 3 Republican Blaine Luetkemeyer only got $1,000, while Clay has notched $2,500. Honeywell donated $3,000 each to the campaigns of House District 6 Republican Sam Graves and House District 7 Republican Billy Long, and gave $7,634 to House District 4 Republican Vicky Hartzler.

Vicky Hartzler

Republicans have received 61 percent of the contributions offered by Honeywell, while Democrats get the other 39 percent. It was practically a 50-50 split in 2010.

Most of these Missouri congressional incumbents have received funds from Honeywell for several election cycles, including 2010, 2008 and 2006. The contribution amounts have increased over the years as Honeywell has become more involved in politics.

The Honeywell PAC gave about $2.5 million to federal candidates in 2008 and more than $3 million in 2010. That’s compared to less than $800,000 in 2006 and about $400,000 in 2004.

Honeywell encourages its employees to give voluntary contributions to its PAC. Because most donors provide less than $200, which is below the FEC reporting threshold, the source of only $472,000 of the $2.27 million given to candidates is known.

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Johnny Kampis is a content editor at Watchdog.org, and is helping to start the organization’s Alabama Watchdog bureau in his home state. Johnny previously worked in the newspaper industry and as a freelance writer, and has been published in The New York Times, Time.com and Atlanta Journal-Constitution.