Political Notebook


Allen lags in federal political donations

Fort Wayne residents are relative penny-pinchers when it comes to giving money to federal election candidates.

Per-capita contributions from Allen County residents amounted to $4.72 in the 2012 presidential and congressional races, good for 18th among Indiana’s 92 counties, according to a study by the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation.

The number was a far cry from Hamilton County’s $24.50 and Boone County’s $17.61 and less than half the per-capita figures in Vanderburgh and Marion counties.

The Washington-based Sunlight Foundation, which advocates for government transparency, said the highest per-capita donation in northeast Indiana was $6.45 in Kosciusko County. The lowest was Wells County’s $1.41.

The Sunlight Foundation and Azavea Atlas crunched every U.S. county’s political contributions to federal races going back to 1990 and placed them on maps of the U.S. Available at sunlightfoundation.com/blog, the categories include total contributions, per-capita giving, third-party presidential contributions and presidential contribution share by major political party.

In total contributions, Allen County's $1.7 million trailed the sums of five Hoosier counties. Marion County was first, with $8.7 million, followed in order by Hamilton, Lake, Vanderburgh and St. Joseph.

By way of comparison, residents of California's Los Angeles County spent more than $149 million on federal campaigns. Harris County (Houston) in Texas and Cook County (Chicago) in Illinois each produced more than $100 million in contributions.

The county with by far the highest per-capita donations in the last election cycle was Sublette County, Wyo., with an astonishing $1,234. Neighboring Teton County was next with $454.45 per resident.

Combined, the two counties are home to about 32,000 people. The Sunlight Foundation notes that residents of the counties include conservative political financiers Joe Rickets, founder of TD Ameritrade and owner of the Chicago Cubs, and Foster Friess, who built a fortune in investment management.

Nearly 78 percent of Allen County contributions to presidential candidates in 2012 went to Republicans, among the lowest such rates in northeast Indiana. More than 94 percent of Huntington County’s donations for presidential candidates went to Republicans, as did more than 93 percent of Kosciusko County’s.

Democratic strongholds in Indiana were in the south. Residents of Jefferson, Monroe, Brown and Orange counties gave between 71.8.percent and 79.3.percent of their presidential campaign donations to President Barack Obama, and all of the $500 that Ohio County residents ponied up went to Obama.