As we near another major election year in 2020, many Democrats are turning down money from corporate PACs — Political Action Committees — a show of independence from big corporate influence in politics.
More than 50 members of Congress have taken what’s called ‘no-PAC’ pledges to their constituents — and almost all of those members are Democrats. That puts corporations and associations in a quandary.
The main focus of corporate PACs are to donate money to garner political influence and curry favor with those that could potentially impact their profits or business as a whole through legislation.
The primary reason many government officials aren’t taking the PAC money is due to their voter base not wanting to see their representatives be influenced by money from a corporation that doesn’t seem to have empathy for the average citizen and only cares about profit margins and how to maintain that margin.
In spite of that reasoning, Republicans are accepting donations from corporate PACs at a higher rate than their Democratic counterparts, however corporate PACs are typically supposed to remain bipartisan and donate money equally to both the Democratic and Republican parties, but with the left rejecting PAC money more often, it’ll be a tough task for those corporations to remain impartial and risk their integrity being compromised.
Some who’ve taken the ‘no PAC’ pledge are already being pressured to change course.
In spite of the rhetoric that corporate PACs carry a huge amount of influence, they can only donate up to $5,000 per election and the Federal Election Commission mandates all donations over $200 be disclosed through the FEC.
Another interesting fact is every Democratic candidate for President of the United States has also taken a ‘no PACs’ pledge to avoid the perception of political influence by big corporations.
The flagship candidate for not accepting PACs would be Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), who is wanting to tax corporations and other major financial institutions for their treatment of individuals on fixed incomes or who have hit hard times as of late. Bernie also champions Universal Healthcare, Free College Tuition for all college-age students, and making it more difficult to become a lobbyist.
The problem with that strategy could potentially be the corporate influence gaining some ground on candidates in the 2020 election cycle.
Brandon Howard is a Grit Post contributor, auto worker, and former public radio reporter based out of Lexington, Kentucky. Follow him on Twitter @mrpowerhoward.