Even Without Direct Contributions, Corporations PAC Political Clout

As part of a story on pending legislation to allow direct corporate donations to Tennessee political campaigns, Chas Sisk notes that corporations – through political action committees and corporate executives – are already funneling some pretty big bucks to candidates.
A Tennessean survey of campaign finance records found that political action committees affiliated with the 25 biggest companies based in Tennessee have given more than $742,000 to candidates or other PACs since 2009. State law permits these donations because employees fund the company PACs through voluntary contributions.
The state’s most active political action committee was Federal Express PAC, which gave $450,000 to Tennessee candidates and other PACs. Such spending accounted for more than one-fourth of the $1.6 million that Federal Express PAC took in from employees nationwide.
Employees of these companies also gave more than $565,000 on their own to candidates and political organizations. Nearly 40 percent of that money came from employees of the various divisions of Knoxville-based Pilot. Gov. Bill Haslam is a former Pilot executive, brother of the company’s president and son of its founder.
The review did not include donations from employee PACs tied to companies based outside the state. Several such PACs, including those affiliated with Pfizer Inc. and AT&T, have been active donors to Tennessee candidates.

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