Results from The Conference Board show continued corporate donations to political elections, as well as donations directly to individual candidates, have slowed down dramatically -- and may continue.
No wonder Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) wanted Republicans to vote their “conscience” when it came to the impeachment trial of former President Trump.
Here are some results: 55% of companies have stopped PAC contributions.; 27% stopped contributions to those who voted against certification, either temporarily (12%), permanently (3%), or for an as-yet-undetermined period (11%); and 28% suspended PAC contributions to all those in Congress.
How does your conscience feel now?
The Conference Board survey comes from 84 large firms -- public, private, and nonprofit corporations conducted between January 25 to February 2.
Last year, political advertising hit another record for an election year -- $14 billion in overall spend for the presidential and congressional races. In 2016, it was $6.5 billion.
When it comes to sources of political funding, OpenSecrets.org says in 2020, 42% came from “large individual donations,” 22.4% from “small individual
donations,” and PACs -- political action committees -- registered 5%. It was just over 9% in the 2016 election year.
Winning re-election isn’t all about whether you have your party's moral backing -- it’s about how much election campaign money can be directed your way.
But there might be a new dynamic.
While big party leaders control the purse strings, what happens if the purse is a little bare? Candidates need campaign cash for marketing, rallies and to advertise on TV. Without that -- especially in contested re-elections -- one can find themselves at a disadvantage.
That said, there are rising small individual donations. Everyone from Barack Obama to Bernie Sanders to even Donald Trump has profited by this method. OpenSecrets.org says small donors have risen to 22.4% from 15.9% in 2016.
How do you think Trump amassed $250 million to help pay for supposed “legal expenses” for lawsuits filed in some 62 states citing voting/election fraud? They didn’t necessarily come for high-powered corporate-backed donations.
If The Conference Board survey is right, and some of this corporate sentiment continues, will small donors, those who contributed to Trump’s fund to strike down presidential voter certification, increase their donations in the future?
While growing “earned media” from TV networks -- press appearance and the like -- are important, advertising continues to sway a lot of voters. So follow the vote money.