Kathleen Matthews And Marriott: The Rest Of The Story

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If you’re old like me (or have an interest in old radio programs, you’ll recognize the tag line above as being associated with a right wing radio pioneer named Paul Harvey, who was on the radio for over 70 years and who from 1976 until his death in 2009 had a daily radio show, telling moralistic and uplifting stories (some of them were actually true) about things you thought you knew but really didn’t. And the punch line was always the same: “Now you know the rest of the story. . . . This is Paul Harvey. Good day.”

Let’s be Paul Harvey and see what we can see with respect to a recent claim in the CD8 race.

Over the past few days, as I wrote on Tuesday, there’s been a discussion of Kathleen Matthews’ role in running the Marriott PAC. She did. David Lublin wrote that during the period from 2008-2014, the Marriott PAC directed “nearly $700,000” in federal contributions to Republicans. That’s true, too.

But what about the rest of the story? Did the PAC give any money to Democrats? And how, if at all, did the pattern of contributions change after Matthews arrived at Marriott in 2006? Those seem to be pretty relevant questions to me. So I went and looked – at precisely the same source Lublin identifies.

The actual amount of GOP contributions in the 2008-14 period were $681,400. The total of the Democratic contributions during the same time period was $587,100. 53.7% GOP contributions to 46.3% Democratic. And if you leave out the first cycle (2008), it’s 50.6% Democratic donations in the three cycles from 2010-2014. Not bad for a company with a reputation of being strongly tilted to the right. In 2008, the contributions were about 2:1 in favor of Republicans.

Then I thought, “hmmm, how do these patterns compare to the donations made by Marriott before Matthews got there?” That too would be relevant – did she make an impact? Did she change anything?

Spoiler: yes, she did.

From 2000-2006 (available on the same site), the Marriott contributions looked like this: $369,400 to Republican candidates, $76,500 to Democrats. About 5:1 tilted to the GOP.

One more thing: even that first Matthews cycle in 2008, her first with the company, represented an enormous improvement, moving from 5:1 to 2:1. Thereafter, there was 1:1 parity.

So when she says she changed the political culture at Marriott, these numbers, at least, back her up. And when David Lublin gave you a list of $700,000 in GOP contributions without even mentioning the Democratic ones, he was only telling you part of the story.

Now you know the rest of the story.

2 thoughts on “Kathleen Matthews And Marriott: The Rest Of The Story

  1. Daniel Meyer

    I agree that during the 2010-2016 cycles, R:D spending was brought into near unity (although that was hardly the case in 2008). One thing that you didn’t really emphasize is how dramatically Marriott PACs spending increased during the years Kathleen was in charge. It literally tripled — and it wasn’t a gradual ramp up. Going from the 2006 to 2008 cycles was night and day, and the 2016 cycle has already dropped off considerably. It increased so much that despite the fact that (except 2008) spending between R and D were nearly the same, Republican spending was higher every year she was in charge than every year she wasn’t. And it wasn’t just spending, it was raising too. Marriott PAC had $100k in Cash on Hand at the end of the 2006 cycle, it now has $700k.

    Now its great that she got Marriott to contribute less as a percentage of their total spending to Republicans, but people give money to politicians either to buy access or because they align with their values and want to get them re-elected. Legally speaking though, a corporation’s values are maximizing their shareholders’ profit. In other words, they’re going to give money to people who they think will help Marriott make money… and Marriott PAC (and other travel/tourism/gambling industry PACs) has also given her campaign considerable amounts of money — which means they believe that she will be profitable to them once in Congress (something of which I have no doubt because of her close friendship with them).

    I think its pretty clear that Kathleen, along with David Trone are big believers in the rich throwing their money around to politicians to further their business interests. Let’s face it, Roy Blunt and most of the Republicans Marriott PAC contributed too don’t share what Kathleen claims are her social values, so clearly this is all business interests. Trone has outright admitted to it, and Matthews record speaks for itself: when she got in charge, PAC spending tripled and fundraising outstripped spending by a large margin.

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