The Best Votes Money Can Buy

Facts and figures of the most expensive election campaign in U.S. history

Considering the people who live there, it's not surprising.

As Andrew Beveridge of the Gotham Gazette pointed out last year, 10021 generated the most money for the 2000 campaigns of both Bush and Al Gore.

Manhattan, Beveridge noted, "is now the U.S. county with the highest disparity of income." Of the 2,216 census tracts in New York City in 1999, he found, only 15 had average annual incomes above $200,000, and 12 of those were on the Upper East Side.

Following were the top 50 zips in the U.S. in political contributions:

1. 10021 New York, NY (Upper East Side–Lenox Hill) $17.7 million

2. 10022 New York, NY (Upper East Side) $7.9 million

3. 10028 New York, NY (Upper East Side–Yorkville) $6 million

4. 10024 New York, NY (Upper West Side) $5.9 million

5. 20007 Washington, D.C.$5.6 million

6. 10023 New York, NY (Upper West Side–Lincoln Center) $5.6 million

7. 20008 Washington, D.C.$5.4 million

8. 10128 New York, NY (Upper East Side–Carnegie Hill) $5.4 million

9. 90210 Beverly Hills, CA$5.3 million

10. 22101 McLean, VA$4.9 million

11. 20016 Washington, D.C.$4.7 million

12. 20854 Potomac, MD$4.4 million

13. 20815 Chevy Chase, MD$4.4 million

14. 60611 Chicago, IL$4.4 million

15. 90049 Los Angeles, CA$4.4 million

16. 10019 New York, NY(Midtown) $4.3 million

17. 33480 Palm Beach, FL$4.1 million

18. 75205 Dallas, TX$4.1 million

19. 60614 Chicago, IL$4 million

20. 06830 Greenwich, CT$3.9 million

21. 20036 Washington, D.C.$3.7 million

22. 06831 Greenwich, CT$3.6 million

23. 60093 Winnetka, IL$3.6 million

24. 10017 New York, NY(Turtle Bay) $3.4 million

25. 60610 Chicago, IL$3.1 million

26. 02138 Cambridge, MA$3.1 million

27. 75225 Dallas, TX$3.1 million

28. 77019 Houston, TX$3.1 million

29. 30327 Atlanta, GA$3.1 million

30. 20817 Bethesda, MD$3.1 million

31. 22102 McLean, VA$3 million

32. 22314 Alexandria, VA$2.9 million

33. 20005 Washington, D.C.$2.9 million

34. 10583 Scarsdale, NY$2.9 million

35. 63124 St. Louis, MO$2.9 million

36.10011 New York, NY (Chelsea) $2.9 million

37. 45243 Cincinnati, OH$2.8 million

38. 60045 Lake Forest, IL$2.7 million

39. 77024 Houston, TX$2.7 million

40. 22207 Arlington, VA$2.7 million

41. 10003 New York, NY (East Village) $2.7 million

42. 90272 Pacific Palisades, CA$2.6 million

43. 75201 Dallas, TX$2.6 million

44. 90024 Los Angeles, CA$2.6 million

45. 20009 Washington, D.C.$2.6 million

46. 92037 La Jolla, CA$2.6 million

47. 19103 Philadelphia, PA$2.6 million

48. 10025 New York, NY(Upper West Side) $2.6 million

49. 90067 Los Angeles, CA$2.5 million

50. 08540 Princeton, NJ$2.5 million

The Top 10 From 10021

The largest single donations (so far) from zip code 10021, listed by name, occupation, date, amount, and recipient:

Paramount BioCapital Inc.(venture capital firm that invests in biopharmaceutical companies)

July 13, 2004: $27,858 Republican National Committee

Paramount BioCapital Inc., director of research

July 16, 2004: $27,305 Republican National Committee

Milstein Properties, real estate executive (daughter of founder of $5 billion real estate empire; self-described "Park Avenue matron" caught on tape in November 2000 in Wisconsin "handing out packs of cigarettes to homeless men who had just voted by absentee ballot," according toMother Jones)

December 31, 2003: $25,000 Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

Retired (securities business)

June 20, 2003: $25,000 Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

Rohatyn Associates, owner (former kingpin investment banker at Lazard Freres)

November 19, 2003: $25,000 Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

Homemaker (see Marc Lasry, below)

June 29, 2004: $25,000 Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

Retired (securities business)

March 31, 2004: $25,000 Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee


Avenue Capital Group, senior managing director (hedge fund mogul)

June 16, 2004: $25,000 Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee


November 25, 2003: $25,000 Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

Sillerman Companies, president and CEO (entertainment mogul)

December 31, 2003: $25,000 Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

SOURCESCenter for Responsive Politics, based on FEC data through October 25, 2004

An Unhealthy Trend

The watchdog group Public Campaign, searching for the perfect metaphor earlier this year to describe the relationship between lobbying and health care, found it: In a report entitled Paybacks: How the White House and Congress are Neglecting Our Health Care Because of Their Corporate Contributors, Public Campaign concluded, "Lobbying by health care and related industries is metastasizing like a cancer on the body politic."

If you don't believe that, look at the charts. In all, the industries of tobacco, health insurance/HMOs, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and meat and food processing poured more than $163 million into federal campaigns and party committees just since 1999, three-fourths of it to Republicans. Since 1992, these health care-related interests have radically increased their federal campaign spending and "have severely shifted their support toward the GOP," the report says. Following are the percentage increases by industry, to each party, from 1992 to 2002:

Tobacco: Democrats, minus 25 percent; Republicans, 119 percent

Meat and food processing: Democrats, 6 percent; Republicans, 88 percent

Health insurance/HMOs: Democrats, 164 percent; Republicans, 642 percent

Pharmaceutical manufacturers: Democrats, 79 percent; Republicans, 594 percent

SOURCESPublic Campaign, based on figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics

The Numbers Game

Food Safety

47: Millions of dollars given by the meat- and food-processing industries to federal campaigns and parties since 1999

75: Percentage of that money given to Republicans

1,700: Thousands of dollars contributed to George W. Bush from those industries

91: Thousands of dollarscontributed to John Kerry from those industries

43,100: Average number of dollars of campaign cash given to the 48 senators who voted in favor of giving the U.S. Department of Agriculture authority to shut down dirty meat plants

87,200: Average number of dollars in campaign cash given to the 49 senators who voted against giving the USDA authority to shut down plants

27.4: Millions of pounds of chicken and turkey recalled by a Pennsylvania meat-processing plant after eight deaths and three miscarriages

SOURCESPublic Campaign, Center for Responsive Politics

The Numbers Game

Prescription Drugs

47: Millions of dollars given by pharmaceutical manufacturers to federal campaigns and parties since 1999

77: Percentage of that money given to Republicans

418,000: Dollars collected by George W. Bush from drug-manufacturing companies

128,000: Dollars collected by John Kerry

6: Rank of House Speaker Dennis Hastert, sponsor of the December 2003 Medicare drug law, in lifetime contributions from drug manufacturers

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