The Center for Political Accountability is out with a new database that, for the first time, gathers in one place corporate spending on federal elections, state elections and trade groups for all 500 members of the S&P.
From the Database:
orporations are prohibited from tapping their treasuries for direct contributions to federal candidates and to national political parties. They may, however, engage in electioneering spending. As an example, they may fund advertising even if it targets or promotes a specific candidate, as long as the spending is independent from the candidate and party committees.
They may also give to candidates through political action committees (PACs), including Super PACs, which can accept unlimited contributions and make unlimited independent expenditures. Super PACs have proliferated after Citizens United, becoming major players in the financing of federal campaigns. Any direct contributions to a Super PAC must be disclosed.
Companies may also give unlimited sums to two kinds of politically active nonprofit groups — trade associations (called 501(c)(6) groups for their tax code classification) and “social welfare” organizations (called 501(c)(4) groups). These tax-exempt groups must have a “primary purpose” other than elections. For 501(c)(4)s, this means in practice that they should allot no more than 49 percent of their resources to electioneering activities.
Direct to “What Does Your Company Spend” Database