Democracy Fund

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Democracy Fund
Research & Events

Business Perspectives on Campaign Finance

CED surveyed business leaders in order to better understand their attitudes about campaign financing and the US political system.

About the Project

The Committee for Economic Development (CED) engaged a bipartisan team of opinion research companies to help survey business leaders on issues of campaign finance and reform. Hart Research Associates, a Democratic polling firm, and American Viewpoint, a Republican polling firm, collaborated in conducting qualitative research, and in developing and fielding the survey.

Survey Results

The survey found that American business executives – from both political parties – have deep concerns about how U.S. elections are funded. Business executives also overwhelmingly agree that the campaign finance system is “pay-to-play” and in need of major reforms.

Top-level findings show the level of frustration with large donors and hidden money in campaigns:

  • 85% of business executives say the campaign finance is in poor shape or broken;
  • 87% say that the campaign finance system needs major reforms or a complete overhaul;
  • 64% of executives say that the U.S. campaign finance system is pay-to-play and it is a serious problem;
  • 71% say that major contributors have too much influence on politicians.

The majority of those surveyed agreed that the solution to these problems is campaign finance disclosure:

  • Nine out of ten business leaders surveyed support reforms that disclose all individual, corporate and labor contributions to political committees;
  • 89% support limits on how much money individuals, corporations and labor organizations can give to political candidates and how much they can spend for political purposes during an election.

The results of the survey, along with a CED report Hiding in Plain Sight: The Problem of Transparency in Political Finance, were released at a Washington, D.C. event hosted by CED and The Conference Board Governance Center.

Download a presentation of the survey results.