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Detroit automakers have long played the politics game, with employees donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to company-run political action committees. During the 2008 election cycle, GM, Ford, and Chrysler each doled out $800,000 or more to local and federal elections. With 2008 in the rear-view mirror, GM has decided to halt all political contributions. The General says it stops donating after major political cycles in an effort to replenish its funds, but this is the first time in six years the money has been halted.

GM donated to both Democrats and Republicans in 2008, with 51% going to the donkeys and 49% going to the elephants. The goal of the donations is to concentrate the influence of its large employee base, but by splitting the money in half, it looks like GM is buttering both sides of the bread. Ford and Chrysler also donated an identical 51/49 amount. With Detroit automakers working closely with Washington lawmakers on government loans, we wouldn't be surprised if Chrysler and Ford soon follows GM's lead. After all, getting votes while also giving money just doesn't look very good.

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