Here’s Where Top Women CEOs Are Putting Their Political Dollars

With large contributions to Trump, Oracle CEO Safra Catz is an outlier when it comes to political giving among female S&P 500 CEOs.

Here’s Where Top Women CEOs Are Putting Their Political Dollars
Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman contributed to former VP Joe Biden’s campaign; Oracle CEO Safra Catz is a donor to President Trump. (Boss Betty)

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Mixing business with politics has not always been in vogue and does not always go well—the past couple of years have yielded plenty of examples of when the combo has gone seriously awry, whether from the perspective of top company brass, employees or consumers.

To wit: A lavish Hamptons fundraiser hosted by Related Cos. CEO Stephen Ross resulted in several celebrities (and their followers) very publicly quitting SoulCycle and Equinox, both of which Ross owns majority stakes in; CVS received a ton of backlash after reports surfaced in 2018 saying that the company was a major contributor to Trump’s reelection campaign; data-mining company Palantir faced an uprising from employees angered by the company’s involvement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and there are oh, so, so many more examples.

However, this week hundreds of top business school professors across the country published an open letter urging corporate executives to speak out about the election, writing,

“For a profession that incessantly proclaims the importance of corporate values, makes much ado about CSR [corporate social responsibility] initiatives, and proudly embraces a commitment to everything from sustainability, to inclusion, to ethical business practices, it is unacceptable and immoral to remain silent at this time.”

But when it comes to their wallets, most of the 32 women currently running S&P 500 companies are doing just that, Federal Election Commission filings show. See our chart below. 

Only a few gave money to either presidential campaign this cycle and even then—with the exception of Oracle CEO Safra Catz—only in very tiny amounts. Ten of the women CEOs did not make any individual political contributions to candidates or political action committees (PACs) during this political cycle. The vast majority of the donations that were made went to PACs formed by the companies the executives ran, rather than in support of specific candidates or parties.


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Catz’s $130,600 contribution to President Trump, along with more than $136,000 to other Republican candidates and PACs, made her an outlier in the field, though in line with company founder and former CEO Larry Ellison. While FEC records show that Ellison, who now serves as Oracle’s chief technology officer and executive chairman, has not personally given any money to the Trump campaign, he did hold a huge fundraising bash for Trump at his Coachella Valley home earlier this year. Tickets to the soirée were said to be around a quarter of a million dollars and attendees could purchase a golf outing with the president in exchange for a mere six-figure donation. Requests for comment from Oracle and Catz were not returned.

On the other side of the political spectrum, and in much more modest fashion, Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman and Ventas CEO Debra Cafaro—the only S&P 500 female CEOs aside from Catz to donate to presidential campaigns—gave a modest $2,800 and $5,600, respectively, to a PAC supporting former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential bid.

In total, the women running S&P 500 companies made about $740,000 in political contributions this cycle—barely a drop in the bucket relative to the amounts the presidential and congressional candidates are raising. Of that sum, $359,000 went to support Republican candidates (74 percent of that from Catz), $145,000 to Democrats and the rest to PACs that support both parties relatively equally.

Following is the list of the political contributions made from January 2019 through Oct. 29, 2020 by the top women CEOs in the U.S.

Note that donations under $200 are not required to be reported and that some donors contribute to so-called  “dark money” groups that are not legally obligated to disclose who gives them money.


CEO COMPANY RECIPIENT PARTY AMOUNT
1. JULIE SWEET ACCENTURE TED CRUZ VICTORY COMMITTEE REP $10,600
TED CRUZ FOR SENATE REP $5,600
2. CAROL TOME UPS UNITED PARCEL SERVICE INC. PAC N/A $4,600
3. SAFRA CATZ ORACLE TRUMP VICTORY REP $125,000
MCCARTHY VICTORY FUND REP $46,100
NRCC REP $35,500
REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE REP $35,500
ORACLE PAC N/A $8,333
ZELDIN FOR CONGRESS REP $5,600
DONALD J. TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT REP $5,600
MAJORITY COMMITTEE PAC REP $5,000
ANTONE FOR CONGRESS DEM $2,800
JIM JORDAN FOR CONGRESS REP $2,800
KEVIN MCCARTHY FOR CONGRESS REP $2,800
4. KRISTIN PECK ZOETIS SERVICES ZOETIS INC. PAC AKA ZOETIS PAC N/A $4,479
5. GAIL BOUDREAUX ANTHEM ANTHEM PAC N/A $10,000
CORY GARDNER FOR SENATE REP $2,500
6. LYNN GOOD DUKE ENERGY NRSC REP $10,000
DUKE ENERGY CORPORATION PAC N/A $9,000
7. RESHMA KEWALRAMANI VERTEX VERTEX PHARMACEUTICALS PAC N/A $6,528
KENNEDY FOR MASSACHUSETTS DEM $5,600
8. KATHY WARDEN NORTHROP GRUMMAN EMPLOYEES OF NORTHROP PAC N/A $6,450
9. MARY BARRA GM GENERAL MOTORS COMPANY PAC N/A $8,000
10. PHEBE NOVAKOVIC GENERAL DYNAMICS GENERAL DYNAMICS PAC N/A $8,360
KAY GRANGER CAMPAIGN FUND REP $2,800
FRIENDS OF DICK DURBIN COMMITTEE DEM $2,700
COLLINS FOR SENATOR REP $2,000
11. MICHELE BUCK HERSHEY’S THE HERSHEY COMPANY PAC N/A $5,000
12. PATRICIA POPPE CMS ENERGY PETERS FOR MICHIGAN DEM $5,000
POWERPAC OF EDISON ELECTRIC INT N/A $5,000
WALBERG FOR CONGRESS REP $3,600
13. DEBRA CAFARO VENTAS DNC SERVICES CORP/DNC DEM $94,400
NEAL VICTORY FUND DEM $5,600
RICHARD E NEAL FOR CONGRESS DEM $5,600
FRIENDS OF DICK DURBIN DEM $5,600
BIDEN FOR PRESIDENT DEM $5,600
REALPAC N/A $5,000
DURBIN VICTORY FUND DEM $5,000
CHRIS COONS FOR DELAWARE DEM $3,500
PETERS FOR MICHIGAN DEM $2,800
CONOR LAMB FOR CONGRESS DEM $2,800
PRAIRIE POLITICAL ACTION DEM $1,900
14. ADENA FRIEDMAN NASDAQ NASDAQ PAC N/A $10,000
CITIZENS FOR WATERS DEM $2,800
BIDEN FOR PRESIDENT DEM $2,800
LEGPAC DEM $2,500
FRIENDS OF PAT TOOMEY REP $2,000
FRIENDS FOR GREGORY MEEKS DEM $2,000
15. MARGARET KEANE SYNCHRONY FINANCIAL SYNCHRONY PAC N/A $8,256
16. LORI RYERKERK CELANESE AMERICAN CHEMISTRY COUNCIL PAC N/A $10,000
17. VICKI HOLLUB OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM PAC N/A $9,481
MCCONNELL FOR MAJORITY LEADER REP $2,800
MCCONNELL SENATE COMMITTEE REP $2,800
18. HEATHER BRESCH MYLAN TEXANS FOR SENATOR JOHN CORNYN REP $5,600
REPUBLICAN PARTY OF TEXAS REP $2,800
19. LISA PALMER REGENCY CENTERS NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REITs N/A $7,500
20. JENNIFER JOHNSON FRANKLIN TEMPLETON MOONEY VICTORY FUND REP $11,200
ICI PAC N/A $10,000
WEST VIRGINIA REPUBLICAN PARTY REP $5,600
ALEX MOONEY FOR CONGRESS REP $5,600
SCALISE FOR CONGRESS REP $1,500
SCALISE LEADERSHIP FUND REP $1,500
21.SONIA SYNGAL GAP KAMALA HARRIS FOR THE PEOPLE DEM $2,000

Methodology: Data was pulled Oct. 29 from Federal Election Commission filings for the political cycle beginning in January 2019. The CEOs’ names were matched to their employers to ensure accuracy. Only contributions that total above $1,000 during the cycle were included. The following top women CEOs did not make any contributions according to public filings: Jayshree Ullal, Arista Networks; Lisa Su, Advanced Micro Systems; Barbara Rentler, Ross; Linda Rendle, Clorox; Sue Nabi, Coty; Christine Leahy, CDW Corporation; Tricia Griffith, Progressive; Michelle Gass, Kohl’s; Joanne Crevoiserat, Tapestry; and Corie Barry, Best Buy. Ulta Beauty CEO Mary Dillon made a $1,000 contribution to Sen. Kamala Harris’ presidential bid.

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About and

Heather Grossmann is the editor and publisher of Boss Betty News, a publication focused on gender equality in the workplace. You can connect with her on Twitter at @hgrossmann
Kaitlyn-Renee Urban is an actor and writer with a passion for highlighting feminism in the arts. She hosts an IGTV show called, "What We Know Now" centered around supporting local, women run businesses, while picking their brains for advice they'd give their younger selves. She lives in New York City, but it's easier to find her on Instagram @KaitlynRenee15.