CEOs channel funds to Romney via corporate PACs
The Detroit 3 CEOs donated to Republican Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, but not directly.
Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally and General Motors CEO Dan Akerson channeled their largesse mostly through their companies' political action committees. Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne can't give to federal campaigns because he is not a U.S. citizen.
Neither Mulally nor Akerson made direct payments to the campaigns of Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, campaign finance records filed with the Federal Election Commission show.
But Mulally fed $1,664 into the Ford Motor Co. Civic Action Fund in 2012. Akerson gave $1,600 to the General Motors Co. Political Action Committee.
It's illegal for corporations to spend money on federal elections. But the PACs provide a convenient end run around that rule.
The filings show that Ford and GM's PACs sent money to other groups that helped the candidates.
Ford's PAC, for example, gave $5,000 to the Republican National Committee last year.
Perhaps hedging its bets, Ford's PAC also gave to both Democratic and Republican committees for House and Senate races. Mulally and Akerson did likewise.
Mulally gave $1,000 to Democratic Rep. John Dingell, a longtime industry ally in Washington, and $1,000 to Rep. Sander Levin, another car-friendly Michigan Democrat.
GM's contributions to overtly partisan causes -- both Democratic and Republican -- have dropped in recent years, perhaps reflecting sensitivities about being partly government owned.
But in August it gave $5,000 to the Continuing a Majority Party Action Committee, which channeled $30,000 to Romney's campaign this year. GM's PAC also gave to several other groups supporting Romney.
Akerson directly and through supporting committees gave $10,000 to Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and lesser amounts to Rep. David Camp, R-Mich., and Rep. Dingell.
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