In the aftermath of the most expensive election cycle in U.S. history, which included record amounts of “Dark Money,” the need for transparency in corporate political spending is even more urgent. Chevron made headlines in October when it gave $2.5 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC led by Speaker John Boehner (R – Ohio). While contributions to super PACs are required to be reported to the Federal Election Commission, contributions to their companion organizations, the so-called “social welfare” groups organized under the 501(c)(4) section of the Internal Revenue Service, remain entirely hidden.
Tellingly, the number of companies recognizing the need for more transparency and actually making the voluntary spending disclosure has increased in recent years. That trend was documented in the 2012 CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Accountability and Disclosure, which ranked the top 200 companies in the S&P 500 on their policies and practices on political activities.