American Hospital Association holds lots of campaign money in reserve
By Rich Daly
With the November congressional and presidential elections a little more than three months away, provider advocates have ramped up their campaign giving—with one notable exception.
Provider political action committees already have taken in and distributed millions of dollars to both incumbents and challengers, but the largest such provider group—run by the American Hospital Association—has spent less than half of the money it has collected from members in the current election cycle.
The AHA PAC collected $3,140,010 by the end of June but spent only $1,318,569, according to the political campaign contribution tracking site OpenSecrets.org.
The American Health Care Association PAC actually has spent more than AHA, even though it has collected only about half as much: $1,658,281.
Similarly, the Federation of American Hospitals PAC had collected $578,215 and distributed $538,363.
An AHA spokesperson said the largest hospital PAC will likely spend a larger share of its funds in the final months of the campaign season. But the group appears to be hedging its political bets in an election cycle in which a high degree of doubt remains over which party will control either chamber of Congress.
The AHA PAC has historically split its campaign contributions closely between the two major parties. So far this cycle, it has directed 58% of the $789,500 donated to congressional candidates to Democrats.
Its leading recipients in the House of Representatives, so far in this election cycle, are Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), $10,000; Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), $9,250; and Greg Walden (R-Ore.), $9,000. The leading Senate recipients were Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), $10,000; Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), $8,500; and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), $7,000.
But the vast majority of recipients were given about $1,000, which leaves plenty of room under federal campaign contribution caps to distribute the AHA PAC's remaining $3,567,914 cash on hand.
Follow Rich Daly on Twitter @MHRDaly.