Executives at mutual fund companies increased their contributions to Washington politicians in 2004 to $1.3 million, data from opensecrets.com shows. That's a significant increase from the last presidential election year, in 2000, when they donated $391,938. And so far, in the 2006 cycle, employees at the top 10 mutual fund companies have donated $257,297.

It appears that fund companies may want to be wielding influence on Capitol Hill at a time when Congress is weighing a number of pieces of legislation that would affect the industry in a significant way. In fact, Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.), who opposed the independent chairman rule that many in the industry have strongly opposed, received the largest amount of contributions, $14,500, all of it from Fidelity Investments employees.

Other issues fund executives are likely to continue to be carefully watching include privatization of Social Security, health savings accounts, automatic 401(k) enrollment and 401(k) advice, MarketWatch reports.

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