Companies that give money to political campaigns have better-performing stocks, according to a new study, than companies that don’t contribute. It’s no small gap, either. Corporations that give the most have beaten the market by 2.5 percentage points a year over the past 25 years.
This gives me all sorts of ideas. Maybe I should start a mutual fund that only tracks donating companies. Maybe I should invest in a mutual fund that donates to campaigns. Maybe there is bit of corruption in our fine system of governance. Or maybe I should research this more…
Here are more details from the University of Michigan News Service:
Gulen and colleagues Michael Cooper of the University of Utah and Alexei Ovtchinnikov of Virginia Tech used data from the Federal Election Commission to create a comprehensive database on publicly traded firms’ political action committee contributions to U.S. congressional campaigns since 1979. About 820,000 contributions by 1,930 firms were made during that time.
The average firm that makes a political donation, they say, contributes to 73 candidates in any five-year period, 53 of whom go on to win their elections. By supporting another 96 candidates, a company can increase its annual stock returns by as much as 6 percent, the study shows.
What is surprising is how much companies get for so little money. The public companies that do give money, on average, fork out just $1,700 to $2,000 per campaign and support an average of 56 federal candidates in each two-year cycle.
“This increase in returns is remarkable, given that the explicit contribution cost to support an extra 96 candidates is extremely small relative to the increase in firm wealth,” Gulen said.
I can’t really find fault with the donating companies. If this is our system then companies are doing what they are supposed to do, make as much money as possible. If anything I have to find fault with all those companies that refrain from making campaign contribution. Step up! Hop on the gravy train and go for a ride! Obviously it makes good economic sense to buy a politician so why isn’t everyone doing it? I don’t think I will invest in any company that doesn’t own at least a couple dozen politicians ever again.
But why does this have to stop here? I propose that rather then just voting for my favorite candidates, I would be happy to donate a couple of bucks to each campaign. I am not talking about bribes here, just a friendly campaign donation. Forget those silly charities with their tax write-offs; I am putting my money to work. However, I expect something for this effort. I want to see a 2.5 to 6 percent tax decrease every election cycle that I contribute money. I don’t mean a tax break for everyone mind you. Just me.