VenturePAC Winners and Losers

The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) is not interested in guns, God or gays. In fact, when it comes to political donations, it doesn’t care much about economic policy. All the NVCA wants are winners, which is why it bet so big on Republicans in last week’s election.

VenturePAC, a political action committee organized and operated by the NVCA, spent nearly $845,000 during the 2003-2004 election cycle, with about two-thirds of that going to GOP candidates or causes. In races for the U.S. House of Representatives, VenturePAC contributed $303,000 to 98 Republican candidates, and $147,500 to 46 Democratic candidates. Just six of those candidates lost (four Republicans and two Democrats), although VenturePAC also gave a combined $21,000 to seven House campaigns for candidates who either retired, or lost in the party primaries.

On the Senate side (see chart, below), VenturePAC gave more money to Democrats than to Republicans. It supported 14 Democratic candidates with $67,500 in donations, compared to just $52,000 for 11 GOP candidates. The only loss was Tom Daschele (D-S.D.), although VenturePAC also contributed to the House campaigns of eventual Senate candidates – and losers – Denise Majette (D-Ga.) and Chris John (D-La).

Twelve incumbent senators not up for reelection received $39,000 from VenturePAC.

Finally, VenturePAC contributed a total of $218,350 to other political action committees. Over 66% went to Republican causes, nearly 26% went to Democratic causes and the remainder went to nonpartisan groups. The NVCA does not contribute to, or endorse, presidential candidates so as not to alienate its membership. It also tends to steer clear of particularly polarizing candidates, but it did make late contributions to extreme partisans Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and Barney Frank (D-Mass.).

“I think that [Republicans] certainly will hold onto the House, and probably will hold onto the Senate,” predicted Mark Heesen, NVCA president, back in September. “The GOP will lose its Senate seat in Illinois, but pick up South Carolina and, possibly, Louisiana.” He also correctly predicted that President Bush would win reelection by a small margin.

In a letter sent to NVCA members last Wednesday, the group expressed satisfaction that most of its candidates won, but also said it was concerned that moderates of both parties lost to candidates who exhibited right-leaning, or left-leaning ideologies.

In terms of policy objectives, the NVCA continues to generally support GOP initiatives on taxes and drug importation (or the lack of said initiative). On the other hand, it also is in favor of lifting President Bush’s limitations on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, and plans to work with both parties on matters of stock option accounting, trade policy and SEC reform.


Check out VenturePAC charts in the print edition of PE Week.