Political contributions from Williamson County’s public companies for the 2020 election cycle dropped to the lowest level since 2014.
During 2019 and 2020, people connected to local, public companies donated about $1.1 million to political campaigns, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Donors from those companies donated $1.2 million in 2018 and $1.4 million in 2016.
In total, about 77% of those contributions—more than $840,000—went to Republican candidates or causes. About 23% went to Democratic causes.
However, donors connected to Williamson County’s public companies donated $35,000 to Joe Biden’s campaign and only $27,000 to Donald Trump’s.
That’s in large part because top executives are usually the biggest donors connected to Williamson County public companies, and they largely avoided the presidential race.
Those top executives accounted for almost a quarter of all individual contributions, and the vast majority of that money went to Republican candidates. Only two executives from Williamson County public companies donated to Democratic causes.
Donors connected to Acadia Healthcare, CoreCivc and Community Health Systems donate the most. Acadia donors contributed $368,000. CoreCivic donors gave more than $283,000 and Community Health Systems donors gave $187,000. More than 80% of contributions from all those companies went to Republican candidates.
Incoming Tennessee Senator Bill Hagerty was one of the biggest beneficiaries of contributions from Williamson County’s public companies. Donors connected to local, public companies donated more than $113,000 to his successful campaign. Acadia and CoreCivic were among his biggest donors.
Companies themselves don’t donate directly to candidates in federal races. Instead, they can set up political action committees that give to candidates. Company employees can also donate directly to candidates.
The Center for Responsive Politics calculates campaign contributions connected to companies by adding up donations from associated PACs and donations by employees worth more than $200.
A large portion of individual donations from employees often comes from top executives. For example, a small group of executives at CoreCivic and Delek accounted for about half of the individual donations associated with those companies even though they both have thousands of employees.
Large companies have many employees that donate based on their own personal views. In its methodology section, the Center for Responsive Politics notes that it’s impossible to know the motivation behind donations, but argues that the patterns of donations are still important to track.