Sunday 17 December 2017

CRH switches allegiance in US to Republicans

Nick Webb

Nick Webb

Ireland's biggest firm CRH has changed horses as the American presidential campaign heats up.

CRH's main US operation Oldcastle has donated more money to Republican than Democrat candidates for the first time since 2006.

Last week Mitt Romney scraped home in the Republican's Iowa caucus. Barack Obama remains favourite to retain the White House -- but the gap is shrinking fast.

Federal documents show that Oldcastle's Political Action Committee has raised almost €177,000 for the 2012 US elections. So far, 64 per cent of the candidates it has supported have been members of the Republican party.

The last two election campaigns saw Oldcastle give more money to Democrats than Republicans as Obama was swept to power. In 2010, the CRH company's PAC spent €412,000 and a further €439,000 in the 2008 election cycle. On both of those occasions Democrats received most of the donations.

While foreign firms don't contribute directly to politicians in the US, key players tend to donate through Political Action Committees (PAC). The Oldcastle PAC is one of the larger foreign connected PACs in the States, raising more money than groups connected with French insurer Axa, drink firm Diageo and Universal Music. Filings show that all the foreign connected groups have raised over $5.1m for political donations for the 2012 election cycle.

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