WASHINGTON, DC–At a stockholders meeting Monday, the Republican Party announced record profits for the second quarter of 2003, exceeding analysts' expectations by more than 20 cents per share.

Republican Party board members wave their quarterly dividend checks.

The gain marks the GOP's third consecutive profitable quarter, and puts the party on track for its best 12-month cycle since 1991, the year of the first Gulf War.

"Obviously, we're ecstatic," said Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL), who celebrated with other high-ranking GOP members at a champagne brunch in his chambers Tuesday. "This is heartening news for our party, especially coming as it does during such a sluggish overall period for the American economy."

The GOP posted a net profit of $3.48 per share, outperforming financial analysts' predictions in the $3.25 range. It ended the quarter with a market cap of $340 billion–a 17 percent gain attributed to a war-related rise in emotional investment in the party by the public and a rise in financial investment by such major corporations as Lockheed Martin and Halliburton.

"Quarters like this don't come along very often," Republican Party CFO Dick Cheney said. "In a three-month span, we inked deals with more than 1,300 corporations, signing contracts to build everything from oil pipelines to surveillance equipment to aircraft carriers. We've also aggressively expanded into some lucrative new overseas markets. I honestly haven't seen a boom like this since the go-go early '90s."

In spite of such successes, the GOP continues to look for new ways to improve its bottom line.

Cheney enjoys the spoils of a profitable year.

"We still have to streamline certain divisions of our company, there's no question about that," Cheney said. "We're still, for example, spending way too much in our Health and Human Services and our Education departments. Once we get those areas and a few others under control, our balance sheet will look like a million bucks."

Added Cheney: "Or, I should say, a trillion bucks."

The Republican Party's financial health stands in stark contrast to its biggest business rival. The Democratic Party, which suffered its 10th straight fiscal quarter in the red, is expected to miss its earnings mark for the third year in a row. The losses have prompted party leaders to consider the possibility of early retirement for some of its high-ranking legislative-branch officers.

"Right now, we've got some organizational problems that need to be worked out," Democratic Party CEO Dick Gephardt said. "To be successful in this game, you need an internal leadership structure that gives your company a top-to-bottom sales vision, and I'll be the first to admit we've got room for improvement in that area. It certainly doesn't help that the market for some of our core businesses, like public housing and health care, are in the toilet."

A majority of the GOP's 7,500 employees work on the support end of the organization. Approximately 1,200 of these workers handle "professional services," such as helping voters choose the right Republican products for their home or business.

The party is traded on the NYSE under the symbol USGOP.