No corporate PAC pledge

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The no corporate PAC pledge is a pledge taken by some politicians in the United States to not accept political donations from corporate political action committees. The rejection of corporate PAC money can increase grassroots support for a candidate. According to political activist Saikat Chakrabarti, "not taking corporate money is a core part of the progressive message".[1]

The trend of pledging not to take corporate PAC money has been increasing. In 2018, three quarters of Democratic party challengers in "top races" rejected corporate PAC money.[1][2]


Former president Barack Obama rejected corporate PAC money in 2008. However, it was not a common thing to do until around 2018.[2]

During the 2018 elections, End Citizens United organized a "no corporate PAC money" pledge. Around 185 Democratic candidates agreed not to take corporate PAC money, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris. In 2018, there were two Republicans that also took the pledge.[1][2][3]

During the 2020 elections, around 155 candidates agreed not to take corporate PAC money. As of December 2020, the pledge had been taken by 52 sitting members of the U.S. House of Representatives.[1][3]


End Citizens United is the PAC that originally organized the pledge. The Justice Democrats is another PAC that supports candidates who pledge not to take corporate PAC money.[1][3]


Some congresspeople circumvent the pledge. Congresswoman Elaine Luria (D-VA) was criticized for backing out of the pledge after achieving office. Around six House Democrats that took the pledge used a shell PAC to obfuscate that they were receiving corporate PAC money. Some of the signers of the pledge accepted funding from the New Democrat Coalition PAC, which itself receives funding from corporations. The Atlantic points out that many non-incumbent candidates are unable to attract corporate donations, so making the pledge is mostly symbolic. Another loophole is that the pledge does not require denying donations from corporate executives.[1][3]

In addition, candidates can legally claim to not take corporate PAC money and still take money from trade associations that are funded by stockholders or administrative personnel of corporations. Corporate PACS are also funded by stockholders or administrative personnel of a corporation and are set up as for-profit companies that can only represent one corporation, whereas trade associations can take money from multiple companies, their employees, and stockholders. Through this loophole, many politicians can legally claim their campaigns do not take money from corporate PACs but take money from trade associations that still represent the interest of certain corporations.[4]

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  1. ^ a b c d e f Godfrey, Elaine (August 23, 2018). "Why So Many Democratic Candidates Are Dissing Corporate PACs". The Atlantic. Retrieved February 5, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c "How the 'No Corporate PAC' Pledge Caught Fire". Roll Call. Retrieved February 5, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d "Cracks Emerge in No Corporate PAC Money Movement". Sludge. Retrieved February 5, 2021.
  4. ^ Fang, Lee (April 13, 2019). "These House Democrats Pledged Not to Take Corporate Cash — but They're Using a Loophole to Do It Anyway". The Intercept. Retrieved March 23, 2022.