Exelon is electric with political activity

By Laurie Bennett

June 26, 2012 at 8:14am

Within a month of assuming his new title at Exelon Corporation, James L. Connaughton let the GOP know about his job change.

He made his largest political contribution to date - $30,800 to the Republican National Committee.

Welcome to the neighborhood.

Connaughton started work in March as executive vice president at Exelon, the Chicago-based energy company. The move followed Exelon’s acquisition of his former employer, Constellation Energy.

James L. Connaughton
James L. Connaughton

Connaughton is a former chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, where he advised the George W. Bush administration on energy and environmental issues.

Before you decide that Exelon is betting on Romney in the fall, know that another executive vice president, William A. Von Hoene, is a bundler for President Obama’s re-election campaign.

Company director John W. Rogers Jr. is also a fundraiser for Obama. His ex-wife, Desiree Rogers, is Obama’s former social secretary.

Providing Republican balance to the board is Tom Ridge, former Homeland Security chief, congressman and governor of Pennsylvania. Ridge was a bundler for John McCain in 2008.

We can’t say whether Ridge is a bundler for Romney, since Romney isn’t releasing the names of his fundraisers. However, Ridge announced his endorsement for the former governor of Massachusetts in March, after previously backing Jon Huntsman.

Exelon’s board was reshuffled in March, after the Constellation acquisition. John W. Rowe, a prominent civic leader in Chicago, stepped down as chairman and CEO. He was replaced by Mayo A. Shattuck III, who was chairman and CEO of Constellation.

It may be too early to tell whether the political activities of Exelon will shift under new leadership. In national races, Rowe tended to give to the GOP, contributing $10,000 last year to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and also donating to the Huntsman and Romney campaigns.

Shattuck hasn’t personally made any contributions in the current cycle.

Exelon’s PAC, however, is a big spender. Data analyzed by the Center for Responsive Politics show that the company has spent $1.4 million in this election cycle. Of the $375,000 contributed to federal candidates, 62 percent went to Republicans.

The PAC also gave $5,000 to Romney. So far, no contributions have been reported to the Obama campaign.

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