Press Releases

ICYMI: Vows to reject corporate PAC money on the rise for incoming Congress [Roll Call]

Dec 05, 2022

As the no corporate PAC movement continues to grow, there will be a record number of members in the 118th Congress. More and more candidates are running–and winning–without taking a dime of corporate PAC money, because they know it shows voters that they work for them, not corporate special interests.

Roll Call: Vows to reject corporate PAC money on the rise for incoming Congress

Kate Ackley

Key Points:

  • More than 70 members say they are swearing off such contributions, indicating that a trend, almost exclusively among Democrats, that caught on during the 2018 election cycle has persisted.

  • When candidates pledging not to take corporate PAC money began to catch on, some saw it as a gimmick for outsiders who usually don’t get such contributions anyway. But there is no indication that lawmakers who took the pledge are reneging on it in large numbers.

  • “Refusing corporate PAC money is one way to show a commitment to addressing the problem of money in politics, and its popularity helps keep the issue at the top of the agenda,” said Adam Bozzi, vice president for communications at End Citizens United, a group aligned with Democrats that tracks which members pledge to decline donations from corporate PACs.

  • “We expect the trend to continue to grow, and it will help us work toward progress on anti-corruption legislation, like ending dark money,” Bozzi said, using a term for committees that spend money to influence elections or policy but do not disclose their donors.

  • Bozzi’s group has tracked 72 members of the incoming 118th Congress (73 if Georgia Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock wins a runoff Tuesday) who reject corporate PAC money, up from 59 in the 117th Congress and 56 in the 116th Congress.

  • Bozzi said the original surge of members rejecting corporate PAC money during the 2018 cycle helped pave the way for Democrats’ recent sweeping political money and voting rights overhaul measures, which did not pass the Senate in the past two Congresses but did pass the House.

  • “Anytime a candidate does anything that lessens his or her ability to raise money, that is some skin in the game,” McGehee added. “Democrats were incredibly united on a bill that had everything including the kitchen sink about democracy reform. That was pretty remarkable,” McGehee said.

  • As a result, supporting major campaign finance overhaul has become almost a basic plank for Democrats, similar to support for abortion rights.