Corporate PACs Donate over $120 Million to Politicians During 2018 Midterms
Senators and representatives in Congress have received over $120 million from corporate political action committees (PACs) since January 2017. According to MapLight, House Republicans received $263,00 on average which is 67 percent more than the $158,000 House Democrats received on average from corporate PACs.
In the Senate, the financial differences were less noticeable. Senate Republicans raised $263,000 from corporate PACs on average, whereas Senate Democrats raised $260,000 on average.
About 14 percent of the money raised so far by senators and representatives during the 2018 midterm election cycle was raised from corporate PACs.
According to MapLight, in many cases, employees working in corporations are often asked by their employers to donate to their corporate PACs. The Center for Responsive Politics highlights the following corporations as the largest PAC donors to Congress members for the 2018 election:
- Northrop Grumman ($2.3 million)
- AT&T ($2 million)
- National Beer Wholesalers Association ($2 million)
Individuals are only permitted to donate a maximum of $5,000 to PACs under federal law. PACs are also limited by federal law to give no more than $10,000 to a candidate – that is, $5,000 for a primary and $5,000 for a general election. Furthermore, political candidates and PACs cannot receive donations directly from corporations; but the 2010 Supreme Court Citizens United ruling opened the door for corporations to donate unlimited amounts of funds to super PACs or dark money organizations.
As Americans have grown increasingly frustrated by the influence of money in politics, some political candidates have pledged to turn down funding from corporate PACs. End Citizens United, a group that fights special interest money in politics, stated that 70 candidates so far have sworn to refuse money from corporate PACs.
Just three weeks ago the Democratic National Committee pledged to refuse any donations from fossil fuel industry PACs.
A complete breakdown of corporate PAC funding to senators and representatives in the 2018 midterm election can be seen here on MapLight.