Attention shoppers: That e-mail about the politics of your favorite retail stores is sort of correct. We decided to check out what the Center for Responsive Politics, our favorite source for campaign finance information, had to say about the top companies. CRP says it had nothing to do with the ubiquitous e-mail, but it does keep searchable, up-to-date data handy.

A message on its Web site also reminds us that since the end of 2002, corporations and labor unions cannot contribute directly to candidates; contributions by industry refer to the contributions by employees and political action committees.

2004 Top 20 Contributors:
Here’s a list of the top 20 contributors to federal candidates and parties in the 2004 election. Don’t worry, we checked this one twice.

1Wal-Mart Stores$2,005,51620%80%
2Home Depot$716,2706%94%
3Ntl. Assoc. of Convenience Stores$582,97218%82%
4Target Corp$314,58826%73%
5Sears, Roebuck & Co$268,54424%76%
6Limited Brands$263,37030%70%
7Gap Inc.$244,08561%38%
8Amway/Alticor Inc.$238,7880%100%
9Costco Wholesale$207,80398%2%
10National Retail Federation$154,4509%91%
11Ntl. Assoc. of Chain Drug Stores$153,35025%75%
12Walgreen Co.$139,96146%52%
13Staples Inc.$132,94939%61%
14Saks Inc.$119,7005%95%
15Circuit City Stores$117,3004%96%
16JC Penney Co.$105,06518%81%
17Barnes & Noble$103,85098%2%
18May Department Stores$103,75010%89%
19Rite Aid Corp.$96,97548%52%
20Windquest Group$84,6800%100%

For more information on industry trends, go to