Politics

Who Did Former Members of Trump’s Manufacturing Council Donate to?

None made contributions to Trump, but many hedged their bets on both parties

Merck Pharma CEO Kenneth Frazier, right, was the first of four CEOs to resign from President Donald Trump’s American Manufacturing Council after the president’s remarks on the demonstration and violence by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

An analysis of political contributions of the four CEOs who resigned from President Donald Trump’s American Manufacturing Council after his Charlottesville remarks show they are deep-pocketed donors who have contributed to both parties.

Notably, none of them donated to the president’s 2016 campaign, as many major business donors were wary of then-candidate Trump.

Trump lambasted the departed CEOs on Tuesday, calling them “grandstanders.”

Kenneth Frazier, CEO of Merck and the first executive to step down from the council on Monday, was the target of Trump’s wrath on Twitter early Monday. Trump said Frazier, who is African-American, would have “more time to lower ripoff drug prices.” 

That came before Trump gave a speech Monday afternoon denouncing neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan as the cause of racial violence in Charlottesville. Trump made the remarks after his initial comments on Saturday were panned because they did not call out the white supremacists.

Trump continued his assault on Frazier’s company later Monday, saying Merck “is a leader in higher & higher drug prices while at the same time taking jobs out of the U.S.”

Frazier has given $5,000 to Democratic incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana — $2,300 for the general election and $2,700 in the primary race.

But Frazier has also donated to Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Sen. Pat Toomey, who represents Pennsylvania, where Frazier lives. In 2012, he also gave $2,500 to New Jersey Rep. Leonard Lance, who represents Kenilworth, where Merck is based.

Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, who also resigned Monday, told CNBC earlier in the year that he saw Trump as “a real asset for the country.”

The head of a company based in Baltimore, much of Plank’s contributions were to Maryland politicians.

He gave $2,700 to former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley's failed presidential bid, and $2,500 to Reps. Elijah E. Cummings and C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, who represent parts of Baltimore.

During the 2016 cycle, Plank gave to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Republican presidential primary campaigns of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Scott Paul of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, who announced Tuesday that he, too, was resigning from the council, has donated exclusively to Democrats during his time at Alliance.

In 2016, he gave $500 to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign against Trump.

Paul donated to former Sen. John Edwards’ presidential primary campaign in 2007, and both of Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns. He’s also given to Rust Belt Democrats like Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and Gary Peters of Michigan.

Intel Corporation CEO Brian Krzanich also announced Tuesday his departure from the council.

On the federal level, Krzanich’s contributions have been exclusively to Intel’s PAC. In 2016, the PAC gave $269,853 to House Democratic candidates and incumbents, and $271,999 to Republicans. Among the top recipients were Democratic Rep. Ami Bera, whose district includes Folsom, where Intel employs a quarter of the workforce, according to nonpartisan watchdog Open Secrets.

Bera received $10,000 from the Intel PAC last year as he faced a tough re-election fight. Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon also received $10,000.

Other recipients of $10,000 were Rep. Darrell Issa, whose previous career as an electronics manufacturing company executive made him one of the wealthiest members of Congress; Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee; Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, who serves on the science committee’s research and technology subcommittee; Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte, chairman of the Judiciary Committee; Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and former Rep. Michael Michael M. Honda, who represented Silicon Valley.

On the Senate side, top recipients from Intel were former New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who lost her race to Sen. Maggie Hassan; Sen. John McCain; Sen. Patty Murray, ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee; Sen. Charles E. Schumer, who became Senate Minority Leader after Nevada Sen. Harry Reid’s retirement this year; Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii; and Sen. Ron Wyden, a critic of domestic surveillance.

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