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Democrats win a Majority of U.S. Satellite Industry Employee Donations in 2020 Election

By | December 4, 2020

Image: Creative Commons, Via Satellite

According to data pulled from the U.S. Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) online database, a solid majority — roughly 75% — of individual donations to politicians from employees working at U.S.-based commercial satellite companies went to Democratic Party candidates between January 1, 2019 and November 3, 2020. ActBlue, an organization that distributes funds to Democratic political candidates across the nation, was the most popular nonprofit that employees donated to in the run-up to the election.

Compared to the number of individual donations, the margin between the total amount of money donated by individuals to Republican and Democratic Party candidates was slimmer. Approximately 60% of total money went to Democrats and 40% to Republicans — due to the fact that Republicans received a greater share of individual donations valued above $200.

Several commercial satellite companies set up their own political action committees (PACs) that received employee donations. Satellite industry PACs commonly split their contributions evenly between political parties and mostly go to politicians who sit on space and technology committees. The 2020 election was no exception to this trend, though for this cycle, industry PAC’s directed a vast majority of funds — nearly 85% — to congressional elections and the parties themselves, with the rest split between the presidential election and more local elections.

Among the largest PACs in the space sector were formed by Northrop Grumman Corp. ($4,989,532.29 in donations) and Lockheed Martin ($4,989,532.29 in donations), though these were open to employees of all of the companies’ divisions and donations specifically made by employees of space and satellite divisions cannot be calculated.

SpaceX‘s PAC raised $666,066 for political candidates, with its largest donations going to both the Republican and Democratic National Committees and Team Rick Scott for Senator Rick Scott, R-Fla. Blue Origin‘s PAC raised $293,467, which it also distributed evenly between political parties, as well as to Congressman Adam Scott, D-Wash. Maxar Technologies‘ PAC raised $162,900 and sent its largest donations to Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo.; Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md.; Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Ca.; Rep. Edwin Perlmutter, D-Colo.; Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas; and Rep. Judy Chu, D-Ca.

PAC donations made on behalf of companies do not reflect individual political views. All of the data presented in this article is available to the public and can be found at the Federal Election Commission web database.