A federal politician is nothing without money to run a campaign. These races require millions for advertising, consultants, pollsters, and travel expenses—among other things.
Political races, in other words, are not much different from NASCAR races, which require money for cars, pit crews, gasoline—and therefore sponsors.
Last week, a Pinterest meme highlighted this connection by creating a picture of House Speaker John Boehner in a racing suit covered in his political sponsors. As Speaker, Boehner rakes in a lot of contributions, but his fund-raising pales in comparison to the candidates at the top of the ticket, President Barack Obama and Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney. We took it a step further, imagining what Obama and Romney would look like if they were NASCAR drivers advertising their race sponsors.
See the full image here.
Together the two campaigns have raised nearly $400 million thus far. It's important to note that these sponsors are not the companies themselves, but individuals employed by those companies. Contributions from corporate PACs are also included in Romney's case, but make up just one percent of his total contributions (Obama does not accept money from corporate PACs). Below is a list of the 10 largest sponsors of each campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Top contributors to Obama:
1. Microsoft -- $387,395
2. Univ of California -- $330,258
3. DLA Piper (law firm)-- $306,727
4. Google -- $271,300
5. Sidley Austin LLP (law firm)-- $257,296
6. Harvard Univ -- $232,158
7. Comcast -- $201,606
8. Stanford Univ -- $188,290
9. Time Warner -- $183,614
10. Skadden, Arps et al (law firm) -- $169,753
Top contributors to Romney:
1. Goldman Sachs -- $593,080
2. JPMorgan Chase -- $467,089
3. Bank of America -- $425,100
4. Morgan Stanley -- $399,850
5. Credit Suisse Group -- $390,360
6. Citigroup -- $312,800
7. Kirkland and Ellis (law firm) -- $264,302
8. Wells Fargo-- $237,550
9. Barclays-- $234,650
10. Pricewaterhouse Coopers-- $227,250
Seth Cline is a reporter with U.S. News and World Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter.