US & Canada

Bailed-out companies give campaign cash to Republicans

General Motors Detroit headquarters
Image caption General Motors was one of many firms struggling to stay afloat before getting government help

US companies that received government assistance during the financial crisis have given big political contributions to Republicans, according to reports.

Many Republicans did not support the "bailout" legislation and aggressively attacked the Democrats over it.

The Washington Post reports that 23 firms that received over $1bn (£634m) in government funds have made political contributions, mostly to Republicans.

The companies include car-maker General Motors and Citigroup.

"We contribute to candidates who thoughtfully approach issues that are important to the auto industry and manufacturing," GM spokesman Greg Martin told The Washington Post.

"If you look at our giving, we have given equally to both parties' leadership."

The initial piece of emergency bailout legislation, which became the $700bn Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), was formulated by the Bush administration and Democratic congressional leadership in late 2008. After extensive negotiation it passed both Houses of Congress, but more than 100 Republicans in the House voted against it.

The second bailout, or stimulus package, an initiative of the Obama administration and senior congressional Democrats, has become a liability for many vulnerable Democrats heading into next week's mid-term elections.

President Barack Obama's bailout of the auto industry has also proven unpopular.

Republicans argue that the stimulus wasted taxpayers' money and did not boost the economy as promised.

Many companies that received government money, including General Motors, Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase, were struggling to stay afloat before receiving government assistance.

But many, particularly in the banking and financial sector, soured on the Obama administration after Democrats passed strict new financial regulations earlier this year.