Skift Take

While AHLA increased its contributions this year because of legislation critical to the industry, both bills sit stagnate in their respected houses and there likely won't be any action on them before the November elections, meaning donations from the hospitality industry could taper off.

The U.S. hotel and lodging industry has donated more than $1.4 million to midterm House and Senate campaigns this election cycle.

Reauthorizations of BrandUSA and the Terror Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) are important legislation to the hospitality industry this year, says American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) spokesperson Rosanna Maietta.

Currently the BrandUSA bill sits in the Senate after passing the House and the TRIA awaits a House vote after passing the Senate.

Republicans received $810,850, or 56% of contributions from industry political action committees (PACs). Democrats received $639,770, or 44% of contributions. The AHLA PAC gave the most money in the hospitality industry so far this year, $339,100, with more than half of that going to Republican candidates.

Based on OpenSecrets data and Federal Election Commission (FEC, candidates receiving the most contributions from AHLA include $5,000 for Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), the sponsor of the BrandUSA bill. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) each received $7,500. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the sponsor of TRIA, received $2,500.

Contributions from AHLA are up from $295,800 in 2010 and $258,350 in 2012, signifying the importance these bills to the industry. Wyndham Worldwide donated only $2,500 so far this year, all of that going to Alan Grayson (D-FL),. Wyndham’s spokesperson Michael Valentino said the hotel’s PAC works with AHLA, the American Resort and Development Association (ARDA), and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for determining contributions and what legislation to support.

Marriott International and Hilton Worldwide are the two hotel PACs contributing the most. Marriott gave $250,000 so far, with 49% of that amount going to Democrats and 51% to Republicans. Hilton gave $196,600 so far and 54% went to Democrats and 46% to Republicans.

Top 10 Hotel PAC Contributions to Midterm Campaigns in 2014

Hotel Total Democrats Republicans
American Hotel & Lodging Assn $339,100 $124,600 $214,500
US Travel Assn $273,670 $123,170 $150,500
Marriott International $250,000 $121,500 $128,500
Hilton Worldwide $196,600 $107,000 $89,600
Asian American Hotel Owners Assn $138,500 $47,500 $92,000
American Society of Travel Agents $72,000 $34,000 $38,000
Sabre Inc $70,500 $38,500 $32,000
International Assn of Holiday Inns $61,000 $22,000 $39,000
Intl Assn Amusement Parks & Attractions $11,500 $3,500 $8,000
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide $11,000 $7,000 $4,000


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Photo credit: The BrandUSA bill is an impetus for campaign contributions this year. Nicholas Raymond / Flickr

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