[or: Where not to buy gas]
By Rachael Marcus, The Center for Public Integrity, at Reader Supported News, 27 October 12
The dearth of large contributions being made by big corporations to super PACs so far this election has ended.
Chevron Corp., ranked No. 3 on the Fortune 500 list of largest U.S. companies, made a $2.5 million contribution on Oct. 7 to the conservative Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC dedicated to electing Republicans to the House and Senate.
Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010, which allowed corporate money to be spent on elections, there were predictions that companies would tap their treasuries and flood races with unlimited cash.
Instead, the bulk of the giving has come from individuals — like casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. Adelson and wife Miriam gave at least $14.5 million in the first 17 days of October, boosting his total giving to the controversial political organizations to a remarkable $53 million. It would take 10,600 contributions of $5,000, the maxiumum allowed to candidates, for Adleson to reach that amount were he giving directly to campaigns.
Super PACs filed their final reports before the Nov. 6 election on Thursday with the Federal Election Commission. Adelson is far and away the biggest donor to the organizations this election cycle.
Chevron, the No. 2 oil and gas company in the U.S. with 2011 revenue of nearly a quarter-trillion dollars, is active in nearly every aspect of the energy business, including the highly controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” a means of extracting natural gas from shale deposits.
The company spent $9.5 million lobbying the federal government in 2011 and $5.3 million so far this year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Chevron becomes at least the fifth Fortune 500 company to give to super PACs this election, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of corporate giving, and by far, the largest. Others include Florida-based Fidelity National Information Services (425th), which gave the pro-Mitt Romney super PAC Restore Our Future $75,000; CONSOL Energy (399th), which donated $150,000 to the group; Alpha Natural Resources (356th), which gave $100,000 to American Crossroads; and Caesars Entertainment Corp. (288th), which gave $150,000 to Majority PAC.
Chevron’s donation to the Congressional Leadership Fund represented the bulk of the group’s receipts for the reporting period. The super PAC took in $3.1 million through the first part of October, entering the home stretch with $8.7 million in the bank….
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