By the numbers: Are members of your occupation generous to Ky. candidates?

01/29/2013 10:32 AM

Lawyers have shelled out the most money — close to $3 million — to Kentucky candidates for office over the last three years.

But they’re more likely to write smaller checks than people in the building and construction trade, according to a Pure Politics review of campaign donations to Kentucky candidates in the 2010, 2011 and 2012 elections.

Contractors, many of whom rely on state contracts, have the highest per-capita donation amount of more than $600.

Collectively, the members of 34 occupation categories have shelled out more than $13.8 million in the last three years to candidates for statewide, state legislative and local offices. (In Kentucky, a donor can give a maximum of $1,000 to a candidate per election.)

Not all big donors worked in high-paying jobs either. In fact, those listing “unemployed” as their occupation gave more than $30,000 — more than what Kentucky state senators collectively contributed over the last three years. And 94 “students” shelled out more than $35,700 to candidates along with their books and tuition bills.

While most of the top donor categories were the usual suspects of business leaders, attorneys and doctors, a small group of optometrists had a big effect on the campaign landscape over the last three years. They cracked the top 10 with 552 donations totaling $267,850. Optometrists successfully lobbied in February 2011 for a bill that allowed them to perform certain eye surgeries that had been reserved only for ophthalmologists.

From the Pure Politics numbers desk, here’s a compilation of the categories of occupations in which 90 people listed on their donor disclosures to Kentucky candidates:

(The figures come from Kentucky Registry of Election finance data the candidates have to report. Similar occupations, such as those listed as “CPAs” or “accountants” or “attorneys,” “lawyers” and “partners” have been combined. Other categories could include much different professions. For instance, someone who listed “secretary” as an occupation could work as an office assistant or could be secretary of the state’s transportation cabinet.)

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