This study from the Committee for Economic Development hammers home a crucial point lost in the debates over campaign finance and political spending: business leaders are under pressure to contribute. Political donations seem to function almost as a tax on successful businesses — except it goes into campaign spending for politicians, rather than into the state’s coffers.
Consider these three findings, and the implications:
- 55% said corporate America makes donations to get “access to influence the legislative process.” Businesses, like voters, shouldn’t have to pay a toll for access to their elected officials. Elected officials need to work for every business and every voter — not just the few writing big checks.
- 49% said pressure to increase donations is up since 2008. The pressure is on — and every day it contributions look less like donations or investments, and more like an unfair tax.
- More than half said the amount of money being solicited from American business leaders and their corporate treasuries to give to third party groups is either “high” or “excessive.” As we slide further down the slippery slope of massive corporate spending in campaigns, more and more businesses will not be able to keep pace. An ever smaller group massive spenders will wield outsize influence for narrow interests. There will be even less focus on promoting general economic growth and a good environment for all businesses.