General Motors Makes Campaign Donations As IPO Nears

September 22, 2010

During its bankruptcy and restructuring last year, General Motors suspended all giving to political campaigns. It was the right thing to do for a number of reasons, but perhaps most importantly, it was a PR move: GM needed to show the world that it was using every dollar at its disposal to improve its way of doing business. But now, with the company's initial public offering just weeks away and the smell of freedom in the air, GM has loosened the purse strings a bit, kicking out just over $90,000 for the current federal election cycle.

Not surprisingly, the recipients of GM's largess are mostly Democrats who've been sympathetic to auto industry needs. The list includes incumbent senators Debbie Stabenow (MI) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio), as well as sitting U.S. Representative John Dingell (MI). However, a few GOPsters received funds, too -- notably, Virginia Representative Eric Cantor, who's currently the House Republican Whip and potentially a very big deal if the GOP takes control of the House this November.

Of course, in the grand scheme of political contributions, $90,000 isn't much -- especially now that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided that corporate entities are the same as people on the political front and can make unlimited campaign contributions. Still, it's enough to get GM's hat back in the ring.

And there's more intriguing news on GM's horizon: China's biggest automaker, SAIC, has expressed interest in buying a slice of GM when the company goes public this fall. The two car companies are already business partners in the new, no-frills Baojun brand, and the stock tie-up could make for some interesting developments down the road. We're not sure if that's good or bad yet, just interesting.   

[WSJ]

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