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Chevron FEC Complaint and Super PAC Report Update

Money Given to Congressional Leadership Fund Violates Prohibition on Political Giving by Federal Contractors

March 5, 2013 — The Federal Election Commission (FEC) should take enforcement action against Chevron Corporation for its $2.5 million contribution to a Republican-tied super PAC because it violated a prohibition against accepting political donations by federal contractors, according to a complaint filed by Public Citizen, Friends of the Earth-US, Greenpeace and Oil Change International.

The FEC also should find the Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC in violation of the law for taking the money, because the group should have known the contributions were illegal.

The significance of corporate contributions to super PACs is magnified because super PACs are rapidly becoming unofficial committees for candidates and parties. An updated report by Public Citizen found outside spending groups that were either devoted to a single candidate or worked in service of the Democratic or Republican Parties accounted for more than 65 percent of spending by unregulated groups in the 2012 elections. This finding is significant because the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision—which permitted outside groups to spend the proceeds from unlimited contributions to influence elections—relied on the assumption that such groups would operate independently of candidates and parties. This report discredits the central assumption on which Citizens United relied.

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