by Kim S. Nash

CIOs, Technology Vendors Spread Donations Among Clinton, McCain, Obama

May 30, 2008 3 mins

In a reflection of broad national trends, Democrats get more donations than Republicans from technologically-savvy executives; luminaries both past and present among IT vendors gave more to Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton than to Senator John McCain.

In the race for president, there’s no clear candidate for CIOs, based on publicly available records of campaign contributions. But top executives at technology vendors favor Barack Obama.

In an informal, not statistically valid survey of the The Center for Responsive Politics online database of campaign contributors, we looked up the 2007 and 2008 financial contributions of about 50 high-profile CIOs and about 50 senior executives at technology companies. (Read more about the campaign on The Web 2.0 Campaign for the White House, Election 2008: Technology Issues Will Play a Key Role, and Republicans’ Web 2.0 Aims: Streaming Convention Video, Online Chats, User-Generated Content.)

Among the CIOs, just 15 of the 50 are on record contributing directly to the presidential candidates. Of those who gave money to the three candidates who have made it this far, three CIOs went for Barack Obama, one for John McCain and none contributed to Hillary Clinton. Dave Kepler at Dow Chemical gave $4,600 to McCain. Gregor Bailar, former CIO of Capital One, and Joe Smialowski, former CIO of Freddie Mac, each gave $2,300 to Obama. Jana Schreuder of Northern Trust gave Obama $4,600.

Of the others, five supported Chris Dodd. Three CIO contributions each went to Rudy Guiliani, Bill Richardson and Mitt Romney. John Edwards and Ron Paul apparently didn’t appeal to these CIOs; those politicians got nothing from them.

Among vendor executives, Obama edges out Clinton, 17 contributions to 14. However, as our chart shows, four of those contributors hedged their bets by giving money to both candidates. McCain trails with six contributions.

Vendor executives have been a bit more targeted, and on target, in their financial support than CIOs have been. From the start, the three strong candidates got more support from vendor bigwigs than did later-dropouts such as Romney and Dodd.

The guys from Oracle, however, are no oracles. Jeff Henley, chairman of Oracle, was alone in his support for Ron Paul, giving him $1,000. Charles Phillips, Oracle’s president, was the single John Edwards contributor in this group, giving $2,100 to that campaign.

Then again, maybe Paul and Edwards will be the veep choices for, respectively, McCain and whoever arms wrestles the most delegates at the Democratic National Convention.


Democrat Barack Obama edges out Hillary Clinton for top recipient among top technology vendor executives, with Republican John McCain coming in third.

Donor Clinton McCain Obama
Paul Allen, Chairman, Charter Communications; Co-founder, Microsoft $4,600
Marc Andreessen, Founder, Ning; Co-founder, Netscape $4,600
Carl Bass, President & CEO, Autodesk $2,300
Lynn Blodgett, President & CEO, Affiliated Computer Services $3,200
Greg Brown, President & CEO, Motorola $2,300
Ursula Burns, President, Xerox $4,200
Michael Capellas, Chairman & CEO, First Data $2,300
Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist, Google; Co-inventor of the Internet $6,900
John Chambers, Chairman & CEO, Cisco $2,300
George Conrades, Chairman & CEO, Akamai $2,300 $2,300
Susan Decker, President, Yahoo $1,000 $2,300
Carly Fiorina, Self-employed; former CEO, HP $200
Bob Frankston, Self-employed; co-inventor of VisiCalc $2,300
Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman; Co-Chairman, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation $2,300 $2,300
Lou Gerstner, Chairman, Carlyle Group; former IBM CEO $2,300
Charles Geschke, Retired; Founder, Adobe $2,300 $2,300
Jeff Hawkins, Founder, Palm $2,300 $2,300
Bill Joy, Partner, KPCB; Co-founder, Sun Microsystems $2,300
Anne Mulcahy, Chairman & CEO, Xerox $4,600
Peter Norton, Entrepreneur; Inventor of Norton Utilities $4,600
Charles Phillips, President, Oracle $4,600
Jeff Raikes, former Microsoft division president; CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation $4,600
John Riccitiello, CEO, Electronic Arts $4,600
Ron Rittenmeyer, President & CEO, EDS $2,300
Paul Sagan, President & CEO, Akamai $1,000
Ivan Seidenberg, Chairman & CEO, Verizon $2,300 $2,100
Brad Smith, President & CEO, Intuit $2,300
John Thompson, Chairman & CEO, Symantec $4,600
John Warnock, Co-founder, Adobe $2,300
Ann Winblad, Founder, Hummer Winblad $4,300
Phil Zimmermann, Inventor of Pretty Good Privacy encryption software $750

Source: The Center for Responsive Politics