Greater Scrutiny of Corporate Lobbying and Political Activity Underway

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On September 13, 2012, the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), a nonpartisan, nonprofit research group that tracks and analyzes the effect of money in U.S. politics, unveiled a new feature on its website that provides extensive profiles detailing the lobbying and political activities of approximately 20,000 organizations. CRP’s profiles represent an unprecedented attempt to correlate the lobbying activities and campaign contributions of corporations, labor unions and trade organizations and the individuals who lobby on their behalf. The information was assembled from numerous public sources, including reports filed with the U.S. Congress, the Federal Election Commission, the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.

Two sections of these profiles should be of particular concern to corporations that interact with government officials. In one section, comparisons are made between a corporation’s contributions through its political action committee (PAC) and contributions made by individual employees of the corporation. In a press release announcing the new feature, the CRP noted the following regarding the campaign finance activities of one corporation in the energy sector...

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