NU Online News Service, March 26, 2004, 5:58 p.m. EST – The insurance industry has contributed more than $14 million to U.S. political candidates this election cycle.[@@]

The Center for Responsive Politics, Washington, has published that figure in a report based on data released Feb. 9 by the Federal Election Commission.

The insurers, insurance organizations and individuals included in the insurance industry category gave more than 68% of their contributions to Republicans. The insurance industry as a whole accounted for $2 million of the $159 million that President Bush had raised by Feb. 9, the center says.

In early February, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., still had significant competition for the Democratic presidential nomination. All Democratic presidential candidates combined had raised a total of about $549,000 from the insurance industry. The insurance industry accounted for $152,000 of the $41 million that Kerry had raised.

The insurance industry also gave about $11 million to Republican congressional candidates, with $7.3 million going to Republicans and $3.7 million going to Democrats.

The insurance industry contributed to 46 Republican members of the Senate and only 40 Democratic members of the Senate, but the Democratic Senate candidates received $1.6 million from the industry, while the Republican candidates received only $1.5 million.

In the House, where the Republicans are more firmly in control, the insurance industry gave $3.3 million to 220 Republicans and only $1.8 million to 181 Democrats.

The insurance industry ranks sixth in total political campaign donations this election cycle, up from eighth in 2000.

The campaign contribution report is on the Web at http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.asp?Ind=F09