Corporate PACs Win While Losing

Photograph by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in a reenacted swearing-in with her husband Darwin Lange and Vice President Joe Biden in the Old Senate Chamber at the Capitol on Jan. 3, 2013 in Washington.

Political action committees of companies such as Boeing Co,. Verizon Communications Inc. and Southern Co. have made sure they were on the winning side of competitive congressional races — no matter how they turned out.

After Election Day, they simply wrote checks to the winning candidate, even after initially backing the loser.

So newly elected Republican Rep. Richard Hudson of North Carolina received $1,000 from Boeing’s PAC and $5,000 from the American Crystal Sugar Co. PAC, both of whom backed incumbent Democrat Larry Kissell during the campaign.

Newly elected Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a North Dakota Democrat, received contributions from the PACs of Verizon, Delta Air Lines and Southern Co., all of which contributed to her Republican opponent, then-Rep. Rick Berg, before Election Day.

“There’s a misconception that corporate money cares which party wins elections,” says former Senator Russ Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat. “The truth is, corporate money’s only loyalty is to its own benefit.”


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