Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

Corporations and Unions Not the Top Prez Super PAC Contributors Corporations and Unions Not the Top Prez Super PAC Contributors

This ad will end in seconds
Close X

Want access to this content? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation


Corporations and Unions Not the Top Prez Super PAC Contributors

It's easy to attack Super PACs for allowing unlimited corporate or union money to sway elections, but a recent Sunlight Foundation analysis found that individuals have donated 70 percent of the money given to the biggest presidential Super PACs.

Still, an individual giving millions of bucks to influence an election, which is happening right now in the presidential race, is just as problematic as money that pours in from unions and corporations, reform groups say.

"We are also very concerned with individuals making huge donations," said Mary Boyle, a spokesperson for Common Cause, which is leading an effort to repeal the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. A single person or industry shouldn't be able to buy influence or access, Boyle said.

And the watchdogs argue that corporations and other organizations are likely donating to 501(c)(4) groups that do not have to disclose their donors. 

"They want all the benefits of influence-buying money, but they don't want the public scrutiny," said Paul Ryan, an attorney at the Campaign Legal Center.

Certain groups have both Super PAC and nonprofit arms to attract as many donors as possible, but there are limits on how much the nonprofits can spend bankrolling political activities -- restrictions the Sunlight Foundation's Bill Allison called the "the price to pay for secrecy."

Another reason individual donations are outpacing organizational contributions to presidential Super PACs is that businesses and unions have historically been more focused on congressional elections and party giving, Allison said.

"It's been an individual's game until this point," he said.

Don't Miss Today's Top Stories


Rick, Executive Director for Policy

Concise coverage of everything I wish I had hours to read about."

Chuck, Graduate Student

The day's action in one quick read."

Stacy, Director of Communications

I find them informative and appreciate the daily news updates and enjoy the humor as well."

Richard, VP of Government Affairs

Chock full of usable information on today's issues. "

Michael, Executive Director

Sign up form for the newsletter