Corporate politics watchdog website?
June 14, 2010 8:08 AM   Subscribe

Is there a website which collects information on the political affiliations of corporations?

I've recently been trying to be more politically conscious, and to that end, I'd like to know the political affiliations of companies that I patronize. However, it seems difficult to find out any information except that which is highly scandalous.

Ideally, this website would have the ability to put in any major company's name and spit out a list of candidates/PACs/causes they have either donated to or expressed support for.

If such a website doesn't exist, are there any suggestions on a systematic way to search for such affiliations at specific companies?
posted by TypographicalError to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I wish - not only that, but I wish for a website that tracks voting records and party affiliations (here in Canada we have had a few "floor crossers") of any public official - basically, search for their name and get a complete public record of their actions and activities.

If only I had time...
posted by jkaczor at 8:16 AM on June 14, 2010

Have you seen GoodGuide?
posted by Houstonian at 8:25 AM on June 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Open Secrets will let you know how corporations donate to political candidates, who and how much.

Here are the records for Berkshire Hathaway, for example.
posted by Alison at 8:26 AM on June 14, 2010

I think you will find that most large corporations donate to both Democrats and Republicans.

There may be some for which the preponderance of donations is one party or the other, but generally speaking, corporate donations are not as focused on political party as you seem to assume. They are more interested in protecting their interests or lobbying to effect changes in the law which enhance their interests, than they are in identifying with a particular political party.
posted by dfriedman at 8:52 AM on June 14, 2010

If you can handle a little light econ, I highly recommend this awesome paper to help you understand what you'll find on the aforementioned sites:

Shon, John J., Do Stock Returns Vary With Campaign Contributions? The Bush versus Gore 2000 Presidential Elections, 2006. (pdf of a working copy, but published this year in Economics & Politics, 22(3), 2010 if you have access.)

In a nutshell, he isolates the Florida Recount period (as it's uniquely unaffected by House and Senate races) to determine whether firms make contributions to elect (with existing positions) or to influence (change the positions of) a politician. In other words, do policy positions cause contributions or do contributions cause policy positions?

He introduces another layer of sophistication by measuring the percentage of contributions the firm's industry makes to that politician. Thus the firm is evaluated relatively. So if, in fact, contributions are election-motivated, then after an election, the change in stock prices of contributing firms should be similar to those of non-contributing firms. If they are influence-motivated, then the change in stock prices of contributing firms would be higher or lower, depending on which candidate won.

Results: the stock prices of all Bush-partisan industries outperformed all other industries during the recount period by something like 10%, and the returns were sensitive to the day-by-day changes in the recount. Furthermore, firms that contributed more to Bush than their industry's average experienced a bonus bump in returns. The same (but reversed) goes for Gore. Therefore, contributions are influential post-election, in that they may cause a policy shift
which is just a long way of saying that firms contribute to candidates for many reasons, one of which is to change the candidate's positions in a direction that you might actually like.
posted by acidic at 9:55 AM on June 14, 2010

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