Report: Consumer Protection

Business Spending on Super PACs

Appendix for Auctioning Democracy
Released by: PennPIRG Education Fund

Contrary to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, for-profit businesses should not be permitted to spend treasury funds to influence elections. First, most businesses are constrained to participate only to maximize private profit, rather than out of regard for the public good. More important, this spending undermines political equality by allowing wealthy institutions to translate economic success into political power.
Yet, Super PACs have provided a convenient avenue through which more than 500 for-profit businesses have contributed $31 million, accounting for 17% of total itemized Super PAC fundraising since their inception. For the year 2011, businesses contributed $17 million, for 18% of total itemized Super PAC fundraising.
This appendix provides a detailed look at business funding for Super PACs: top business donors, Super PACs which received the most business money, and amount and number of contributions by state. Please see pages 11-12 of Auctioning Democracy: The Rise of Super PACs and the 2012 Election for our recommendations on how to increase the transparency of for-profit business contributions and reduce their negative effect on American democracy.

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