Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Oh... So THIS is how they do it...

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU
 
garybeck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 08:38 PM
Original message
Oh... So THIS is how they do it...
Edited on Sat Mar-08-08 08:50 PM by garybeck
I've wondered how large contributions can be made to candidates when there are limits on donations. I just stumbled on something, probably many of you already know, but it was surprising to me how it works.

I was Googling a friend, and at the very top of his search results was a link to the records of his political donations at CampaignMoney.com. It showed his political contributions over the last few years. He had donated nearly $7,500 in just the 2006 election cycle. The funny thing was, none of the money was to a candidate. All his contributions were made at $208 a time and all were to a Political Action Committee (PAC). And get this, the PAC he contributed all the money to was *created and run by the company he works for*. In other words, let's say you work at company ABC. This company has figured out a way to influence lawmakers legally, by creating its own PAC. In other words it's called "PAC for Company ABC." Simple as that. Now all the employees can contribute to the PAC and the PAC can send thousands of dollars to whatever candidates or politicians it wants, and in large sums. ($10,000 or more to some candidates were shown in this example). I'm sure the employees are encouraged to contribute to the PAC, even though I'll bet in most cases they have no idea which candidates the PAC is donating to.

Without getting into the specifics of the company my friend works for (it is a WIDELY known company) I looked into the contributions to and from the PAC they created. I found that many many employees contributed to the PAC. there must be something special about the number $208 because many employees made multiple and repeated contributions of that exact amount.

The interesting thing is that this particular company's PAC contributed to many candidates, of both parties. So my friend had donated several thousands of dollars to a PAC that was donating to all kinds of candidates in both parties. It's possible, if not likely, that he voted for one candidate in a race, but contributed financially to the opponent.

The other funny thing is, I know this person pretty well, and I'm sure he wouldn't be contributing this much money to a PAC unless there was some kind of financial incentive (like the company gives you "kickbacks" if you donate) ...or I guess maybe he thinks it's important for his company to have influence on politicians.

This system seems crazy to me. A company should not be able to create its own Political Action Committee, encourage employees to donate to it, and then distribute the money to candidates based on the interest of the company. This is how corporate influence works and it stinks. PACs should be based on ideologies, not a corporation's interests!

What a mess. Will we ever get some real campaign finance reform?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
mrcheerful Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 08:49 PM
Response to Original message
1. Who said the employee gave the PAC a dime?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
garybeck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 08:52 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. It's public information, shown at CampainMoney.com
Edited on Sat Mar-08-08 08:53 PM by garybeck
It's listed at CampaignMoney.com. It shows all the contributions. I just googled my friend's name and his page on CampaignMoney.com came up. It showed exactly how much he gave to his company's PAC, the dates of the contributions, the totals per year, etc... it's public record.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
TheDebbieDee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 08:53 PM
Response to Original message
3. His employer probably uses some type of payroll deduction
plan to make regular contributions to this PAC. That's why it shows several, regular payments to this PAC.

If you were contributing to the United Way using regular payroll deductions, the payments you make would look just like your friends.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
garybeck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 09:02 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. yep, the only difference is
if I were making regular donations to the United Way or Move On, it would be because of ideology, or I want to help the poor. In this case the donations are used solely to support the interests of a corporation who's only purpose is to make money. There's something wrong about that IMHO.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
unblock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 09:03 PM
Response to Original message
5. $2,500 annually divided by 12 monthly payments = $208.33
now, any guesses as to whether or not your friend has ever been told that part of his salary is intended to be contributed to the pac? no company would ever make it so obvious on paper at least, but you're exactly right. corporations funnel payments through employees and through pacs to candidates as a way around campaign finance limits and more, crassly, bribery.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
garybeck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 09:06 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. are you saying
you think my friend might not even know he donated to the pac and it was just taken out of his paycheck? That would REALLY be weird.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
unblock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-09-08 12:01 AM
Response to Reply #6
13. no, of course not. legally and practically, it would show up as a payroll deduction
i'm just saying that off the record, there would be an understanding that this sort of "voluntary" contribution was "expected".
like i said, nothing on paper, but just "peer" pressure that eventually makes you wonder why those who play ball get the promotions and bigger offices or whatever.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
MonkeyFunk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-09-08 03:17 AM
Response to Reply #6
17. off topic but your sig pic
is about 5x larger than the rules permit.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
TheDebbieDee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 09:14 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. I beg to differ..........
In the late 90s until 2002 I worked for an insurance company. And several times a year, employees were reminded that they could make contributions and donations to an organization that lobbied for our industries interests.

It's as simple as that. It sounds a lot like the way a union asks its members for dues. Nothing underhanded. No arm-twisting. No conspiracy.

If you wanted to contribute, you contacted personnel and worked out something that I'm sure used payroll deduction to deduct your contribution/donation from your pay.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
unblock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-09-08 12:02 AM
Response to Reply #9
14. see #13
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
angrycarpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 09:09 PM
Response to Original message
7. Corporate personhood
They have free speech like the rest of us. Only they have thousands of mouths and a very big megaphone.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
garybeck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 09:21 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. I call Bullshit on that...
not on you, but on the idea, that money is like speech. they are not the same. speech is unique because each person has one mouth. money is different because each person has a different amount of it. so they are not equal. i think that ruling in the supreme court, that money=speech is one of the worst rulings of our time.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
girl gone mad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 09:38 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Totally agree. And I'd like to hear the SC explain..
if money = speech, then why are prostitution and bribery illegal?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-09-08 03:13 AM
Response to Reply #11
16. The Supreme Court ruled otherwise on that over a hundred years ago.
Folks often cite the case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad as the origin of the notion of corporate personhood in a modern sense.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_personhood
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
MonkeyFunk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-09-08 03:19 AM
Response to Reply #7
18. corporations can't donate to candidates
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
garybeck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-09-08 08:22 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. evidently they can
all they have to do is set up a PAC for their corporation. i'd say this is a loophole a mile wide.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
tnlurker Donating Member (698 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 09:11 PM
Response to Original message
8. At my company
Edited on Sat Mar-08-08 09:12 PM by tnlurker
All the execs are expected to give at a certain level(dollar amount based on their pay) to the PAC. It is understood that if they don't they will not be considered for promotion above their current position and may not be in that position very long. Other employees (Non-executives) are encouraged to contribute but there is no problems if you do not.

The company PAC gives to all the current representatives and senators a certain dollar amount for their re-election. The last I looked the senators got 25,000 and the reps 7-15,000 based on which part of the state they are in. My company has been doing this for at least ten years.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
garybeck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 09:19 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. and what do you think of it?
"My company has been doing this for at least ten years."

you must have some opinion of the way this works. do you feel pressured to contribute? do you think executives should be forced to contribute?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
lostnfound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-09-08 07:07 AM
Response to Reply #8
19. An exec I know used to get strong-armed to donate to Delay's PAC
About $15,000 per year, I believe.
He hated Delay. He votes as a Democrat despite being a multi-millionaire.
He gave anyway.
He thinks that all politicians are crooks. He may be 80% right.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-09-08 03:03 AM
Response to Original message
15. This is how McCain can claim he didn't donate to Riley in AL. n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Wed Jul 30th 2014, 02:52 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC