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Companies are abandoning anti-democratic politicians, but they shouldn’t abandon their PACs – Roll Call


President Donald Trump’s baseless allegations of election fraud and the attack on the U.S. Capitol roiled up more than just Washington insiders. Many large companies, including American Express, Microsoft and AT&T, announced they would suspend PAC donations to the 147 Republicans who voted to overturn presidential election results.

It’s hard to blame firms that chose this path because they were following both their consciences and their contribution criteria. But it’s also hard to blame corporate PACs, the maligned and often-misunderstood instrument for corporate political funding.

New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin, who also co-anchors CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” wrote on Jan. 12 that “the donations directed by a corporate PAC undermine the credibility of the company and the politician taking it.”

While it’s fashionable to assume Americans dislike all forms of business political involvement, public opinion paints a different picture. Polls show the American public considers PACs to be one of the top three most preferred ways to finance elections, next to self-funded campaigns and individual contributions.

In a 2020 Morning Consult/Public Affairs Council poll of 2,199 Americans, 70 percent approved of candidates spending their own money on elections, 67 percent approved of individual contributions and 55 percent approved […]

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