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The Self-Destructive Downside to Corporate Political Spending


It’s well known that a flood of corporate cash has flowed into the U.S. political system since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling of 2010.

But while the media and many academics have focused on the use of traditional political action committees, a host of harder-to-track mechanisms have given businesses increasing leverage to influence elections, legislation, and regulatory policies.

This is the first of two articles about the Conference on Corporations and Democracy, which was organized by Stanford Graduate School of Business in early December. The second article is titled Are Businesses Undermining Democracy ?

Although businesses have reaped a wide array of benefits from their buffed-up political muscle, there is a downside: Corporate spending can expose the business to the wrath of politically aware consumers who are increasingly willing to pummel businesses and brands on social media.

But even so, corporate boards aren’t always aware of all that their companies are doing to influence policymaking at […]

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