Skift Take

It looks like the travel industry isn't enthusiastic about industry player Donald Trump, the iconoclastic billionaire and hotel mogul. Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson has quietly emerged as a major Democratic donor.

Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump is many things.

But one thing he’s not, according to information from the Federal Election Commission (FEC), is a recipient of U.S. travel and hospitality industry support in Trump’s bid for the Oval Office. This is somewhat surprising, given Trump’s hospitality bonafides and the Republican Party’s strong support by industry fixtures such as the Marriott family.

By law, corporations aren’t allowed to give directly to presidential campaigns. Instead, their employees can contribute to political action committees (PACs) that then distribute the money to other PACs or candidates.

An examination of contributions from travel-related PACs shows that the industry is largely staying out of contributing to this year’s presidential candidates.

Trump, however, has only received the support of several dozen travel company employees, including airline pilots and hotel workers, and no one in a major leadership position.

In fact, Hillary Clinton seems to be enjoying more monetary support from the travel industry. Hilton Worldwide is the only travel industry PAC to donate to either Clinton or Trump.

Hilton Worldwide’s PAC, Hilton Worldwide Political Action Committee, has disbursed $15,000 to Hillary Victory, a top pro-Clinton PAC, in this election cycle.

During the 2012 election, Hilton’s PAC sent $10,000 to Romney for President.

Of more than a dozen travel industry PACs across aviation, hospitality, online travel, and more, not one company has given money to a Trump-affiliated group.

All have continued their usual pattern of sending small amounts of money to a smattering of Congressional candidates, particularly those who serve on transportation-related committees in Congress.

Here is a breakdown by industry of which of travel’s top executives have been spending in presidential politics during this election cycle.


Delta Air Lines’ former CEO Richard Anderson has contributed $353,400 to the pro-Hillary Clinton Hillary Victory Fund superPAC. He also sent $33,400 to the Democratic National Committee.

During the last election cycle, Anderson only supported Republican-leaning PACs and Congressional candidates, according to records.

Delta’s chief revenue officer Glen Hauenstein has sent $2,700 so far to Hillary for America.

Bret Hart, United Airlines’ general counsel, has sent $2,700 to Hillary for America.

Newly named American Airlines president Robert Isom has given $2,700 to Hillary for America and $1,000 to Cruz for President, Ted Cruz’ campaign group.


While travel industry executives aren’t contributing to Trump, many are still supporting the Republican Party.

Marriott chairman J.W. Marriott Jr., for instance, has sent $73,400 to the Republican National Committee since 2014. He also gave $10,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and $2,700 to the failed presidential campaign of Jeb Bush.

To put this in perspective, J.W. Marriott Jr. sent $1 million directly to Restore Our Future Inc., a PAC supporting Republican candidate Mitt Romney, during the last election.

In addition, the wives of several Marriott-family executives sent $100,000 to various pro-Romney PACs in the lead up to the 2012 election.

Richard Marriott, another son of J.W. Marriott Sr. and chairman of Host Hotels & Resorts, has given $33,400 to the Republican National Committee this cycle. During the last Presidential election, he sent $28,800 to the Romney Victory superPAC.

Las Vegas Sands magnate and noted Republican advocate Sheldon Adelson has donated $2,700 to both Jeb Bush’s and Ted Cruz’s campaigns. He’s also given $5 million to Congressional Leadership Fund, a superPAC aimed at electing Republicans to Congress, $226,800 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and $259,200 to the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Adelson has also donated $10,200 to the Rubio Victory Committee along with $5,200 sent directly to Marco Rubio for President.

Adelson had pledged earlier this year to donate more than $100 million to Trump’s campaign, if needed, but hasn’t sent anything, according to the latest FEC filings.

Online travel

Barry Diller, who is the chairman and senior executive of both Expedia Inc. and IAC, has contributed $353,400 to the Hillary Victory Fund, in addition to $33,400 to the Democratic National Committee and $2,700 to Hillary for America.


Royal Caribbean Cruises chairman and CEO Richard Fain has donated $2,700 to the Jeb Bush campaign and $500 to the Marco Rubio campaign. Royal Caribbean International CEO Adam Goldstein also donated $2,700 to Jeb Bush’s campaign.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings president and CEO Frank Del Rio donated $2,700 so far to Hillary for America this cycle.


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Tags: hilton, trump

Photo credit: Not a single major travel industry executive or group has donated to Donald Trump's campaign. Here, Donald Trump addresses the crowd at this year's Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Disney | ABC Television Group / Flickr

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