LOS ANGELES -- Carlos Ghosn's key adviser in deciding to move Nissan North America Inc. to Tennessee is no stranger to Southern politics and business.
James Morton, Nissan North America senior vice president of administration, finance and government affairs, is leading the team studying the possible move.
In his previous job, Morton was a Michelin North America executive when the tire company acquired and moved Uniroyal and Goodrich from Ohio to Michelin's South Carolina headquarters in the early 1990s. Ghosn was president of Michelin North America when the subsidiaries were relocated.
Morton said in an interview Thursday, Nov. 3, that he was not part of Michelin's relocation team for Goodrich and Uniroyal. At Nissan since 2000, Morton once again reports directly to Ghosn.
Morton also has been active in Southern politics, noting that "my roots are in South Carolina." He has donated $54,750 to political campaigns since 1997, mostly to candidates or political action committees in the South, according to the Federal Election Commission database. He contributed to Republicans and Democrats.
Morton declined to comment on his personal campaign contributions.
Morton grew up in Oklahoma, attended college and graduate school in Missouri, and spent 24 years in South Carolina.
Morton is the only current Nissan North America senior executive to have made a political campaign contribution since 1997, according to the Federal Election Commission database.
Among Morton recent political contributions:
Morton donated a total of $4,000 to the campaign for Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) in 2003 and 2005. Morton also donated a total of $2,000 to Lott's New Republican Majority Fund PAC in 2002 and 2003.
Morton donated a total of $3,000 to Volunteer PAC, the political action committee for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), in 2002 and 2003.
Morton donated a total of $1,500 to the PAC for Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). He also donated $1,000 to KPAC, which donated to Alexander.
In the 2004 campaign, Morton contributed $2,000 to Bart Gordon, a Tennessee congressman whose district includes Nissan's Smyrna assembly plant. Morton was the only California resident to contribute to Gordon's campaign.
Morton has donated a total of $2,000 to the Senate Victory Fund, a PAC whose handouts include funding the campaign of Rep. Edward Bryant (R-Tenn.).
The full listing of Morton's campaign contributions follows, in order of contribution amount:
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