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Red and blue retail, for real 

Attention shoppers: That e-mail about the politics of your favorite retail stores is sort of correct. We decided to check out what the Center for Responsive Politics, our favorite source for campaign finance information, had to say about the top companies. CRP says it had nothing to do with the ubiquitous e-mail, but it does keep searchable, up-to-date data handy.

A message on its Web site also reminds us that since the end of 2002, corporations and labor unions cannot contribute directly to candidates; contributions by industry refer to the contributions by employees and political action committees.

2004 Top 20 Contributors:
Here's a list of the top 20 contributors to federal candidates and parties in the 2004 election. Don't worry, we checked this one twice.

RANK ORGANIZATION AMOUNT DEM. REP.
1 Wal-Mart Stores $2,005,516 20% 80%
2 Home Depot $716,270 6% 94%
3 Ntl. Assoc. of Convenience Stores $582,972 18% 82%
4 Target Corp $314,588 26% 73%
5 Sears, Roebuck & Co $268,544 24% 76%
6 Limited Brands $263,370 30% 70%
7 Gap Inc. $244,085 61% 38%
8 Amway/Alticor Inc. $238,788 0% 100%
9 Costco Wholesale $207,803 98% 2%
10 National Retail Federation $154,450 9% 91%
11 Ntl. Assoc. of Chain Drug Stores $153,350 25% 75%
12 Walgreen Co. $139,961 46% 52%
13 Staples Inc. $132,949 39% 61%
14 Saks Inc. $119,700 5% 95%
15 Circuit City Stores $117,300 4% 96%
16 JC Penney Co. $105,065 18% 81%
17 Barnes & Noble $103,850 98% 2%
18 May Department Stores $103,750 10% 89%
19 Rite Aid Corp. $96,975 48% 52%
20 Windquest Group $84,680 0% 100%

For more information on industry trends, go to www.opensecrets.org/industries.

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