Who funds independent expenditure ads?

The story of this election is the role of outside money. Undisclosed donations have provided millions of dollars for independent expenditures — much of it in television advertising — being run by trade associations and political non-profit groups.

But while the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision largely frees corporations to bankroll third-party ads out of their corporate treasuries, a significant percentage apparently have not done so, if an informal Center survey is any indication.

Many news articles have speculated on which corporations are bankrolling the deluge of independent advertisements jamming TV airwaves this cycle. But it seems like almost no one has bothered to actually ask them.

So we did.

The Center contacted the 50 largest companies in the 2010 Fortune 500 list.



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