Washington - With political control of Congress riding on a few key races in the Nov. 5 elections, the accounting profession made no secret of its preference for Republican lawmakers.

An exclusive Accounting Today analysis of Federal Election Commission reports filed by political action committees representing the industry found that the profession is using its checkbook to support GOP candidates over Democrats by an almost two-to-one margin.

The latest figures available from the FEC show that better than 62 percent of the House and Senate candidates receiving contributions from accounting PACs during the 2002 election cycle were Republicans.

The PACs - established by the Big Five accounting firms, the American Institute of CPAs and the National Society of Accountants - were even more lopsided in their support of Republicans when analyzed from the standpoint of dollars contributed.

Of the nearly $3.4 million donated to House and Senate candidates through the end of this year’s primary election campaigns, a whopping 70 percent was earmarked for GOP hopefuls.

Although the industry has traditionally thrown more support to Republicans than Democrats, this year’s contribution figures appear to be even more partisan than usual. During the 2000 elections, accounting profession PACs divided their dollar contributions 65 percent to Republicans and 35 percent to Democrats.

Like most other political fundraising committees sponsored by business, labor, and special interest groups, the accounting profession’s PACs also channeled the overwhelming share of its financial support to incumbents seeking re-election.

Accounting PACs also favored male Congressional candidates over females, funneled proportionately larger contributions to Senate hopefuls rather than House candidates, and provided disproportionately more financial support to members of key legislative committees responsible for tax and financial regulatory issues of concern to the profession. - Ken Rankin

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