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Entries in Political Donations (3)

Wednesday
Apr252012

Corporations Pour Big Money into 2012 Election

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- As Americans begin to divide down party lines over their presidential preferences in the 2012 election, so too are many of the country's largest corporations.

From Google to Marriott and Dreamworks Animation to the United Parcel Service, some of the largest companies in the country are forking over big bucks to support candidates, occasionally leaning heavily to one side of the political aisle.

But while the predictably partisan labor groups are going blue and the often-conservative oil companies are going red, some less overtly political businesses are taking sides as well.

The United Parcel Service, or UPS, has so far doled out $1.2 million in the 2012 election, about 70 percent of which went to Republicans or conservative groups, according to disclosure data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.  Goldman Sachs, Marriott International and The Home Depot have also disproportionately supported Republicans.

But while the majority of the political contributions UPS and its employees gave supported the GOP, more than $10,000 went to President Obama and a similar amount went to Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., the center's data shows.

Internet giant Google has, as a whole, come down on the side of Democrats, with about 70 percent of the $1.1 million the company has spent on this election cycle going to Democratic candidates or liberal groups, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

But Google's political action committee's spending is split relatively evenly between Democrats and Republicans in Congress, spending $150,000 on Democrats and $143,000 on Republicans.  However, Google employees have overwhelmingly backed Obama, donating close to $140,000 to the president's re-election campaign through the end of 2011.

Bob Biersack, a senior fellow at the Center for Responsive Politics, said that while a few corporations tend to favor one party over the other, "a large majority of corporations are going to end up somewhere in the middle."

"Especially big corporations will split their giving across parties because they are worried about getting access," Biersack added.  "In those cases they might be less concerned about what party the member [of Congress] is in and more concerned what committee they're on."

But the millions that each of these companies has reported spending on the 2012 election so far may be a mere fraction of the full amount these businesses are pumping into politics this year.

"We don't know what the corporate money is because we haven't seen [full] disclosures," said Bruce Freed, president of the Center for Political Accountability, which is pushing for more reporting requirements on corporate political spending.

While companies have to report their donations to political campaigns, parties and political action committees, they can remain anonymous when donating to trade organizations, like the Chamber of Commerce, and some non-profit advocacy groups, like the Karl Rove-backed Crossroads GPS.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug162011

Starbucks CEO Urges Companies to Forgo Political Contributions

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- The head of Starbucks says that U.S. corporations shouldn't donate a "grande" or anything for that matter to political campaigns.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is appealing to his counterparts to forgo any contributions to the president and Washington lawmakers until they sit down and figure out how to shrink the budget deficit.

In an email sent to business leaders, Schultz wrote that President Obama and Congress need to "deliver a fiscally disciplined long-term debt and deficit plan to the American people."

Until then, the 58-year-old chief of the nation's largest coffee shop operation says that politicians shouldn't count on corporate donations.

Meanwhile, Schultz is also encouraging other CEOs to accelerate hiring to help revive the foundering economy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar142011

Retailers Revamp Political Giving Policies Ahead of 2012 Campaign

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Two of the nation's most prominent retailers, Target Corp. and Best Buy, quietly have revamped their political expenditure policies following a stinging controversy from the 2010 election campaign that continues to reverberate.

The changes, appearing in policy statements on the companies' websites last month, said that proposed political donations must align with the companies' core values, not just their business interests, and be reviewed by internal committees that include a diversity of viewpoints.

Last year, Target sparked outrage among some employees, customers, and community groups for contributions supporting a Republican Minnesota gubernatorial candidate who opposed same-sex marriage and greater legal protections for gays and lesbians.  The company is based in Minneapolis.

Best Buy and several other companies also donated to the conservative political action group, MN Forward, but received less criticism.

The revised policies are signs that some businesses that took advantage of the freedom to give directly to campaigns from their corporate bank accounts after the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, are taking steps to avoid unwanted negative attention in 2012, experts said.

At Target, a committee of senior executives representing a "variety of perspectives" will weigh the need to promote business-friendly policies with "any other considerations that may be important to our team members, guests or other stakeholders," the company said on its website.

Best Buy said it will convene a similar committee to review corporate political contributions, basing its decisions not only on the interests of the business and shareholders but also employees, customers and the company's "core values."

Some critics of the companies' 2010 contributions say the new revisions don't go far enough.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio