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« Google Video - Cracker's Canoe (Fiction) » - Tracking Political Contributions and Practices of Corporations
Dec 5, 2005, 12:44a

Saw an ad for this on the BART, so I looked it up:

This site tracks the political contributions and corporate pratices of a whole slew of companies.

For example, you can see that Costco gave 99% of its donations to the Democrats, and has 4 positive articles submitted about their worker practices.

While Walmart gives 78% to Republicans and has 9 negative articles in their bio about their labor and human rights practices.

I haven't looked at the specific articles too closely - they seem to be hand-selected so likely not generally representative of the press about a company. Interesting thing is that you can submit articles and rate them as well. Also, the financials track the personal donations of the executives and their spouses and any relevant Political Action Committees (PACs), not just the donations made on behalf of the company itself. Other interesting links to companies:

Apple (Democrat)
Amazon (Republican)
Bank of America (Republican)
Microsoft (Republican)
Pfizer (Republican)
Philip Morris / Atria (Republican)
Google (Democrat)

You can see a ranked listing by donation amount.

Based on this listing, it's obvious that the vast majority of corporate donations, at least in the page of the top donors, goes to Republicans.

Of course, this site is clearly biased toward Democrats (it's called "BuyBlue", not "BuyRed", after all), which is a bit unfortunate. I think it would be significantly more successful in influencing public opinion if it was more of a non-partisan site.

They also have an RSS feed which I subscribe to.

BuyBlue is very close to a service I want to make which I call Super Facts. Super Facts would give the same info as BuyBlue as well as per product info (veg/non-veg, materials used, factory it came from, whether it was a sweatshop, etc.). That's why I reserved in the first place, but have since been using it only for my blog. A description of Super Facts from a previous blog post:

"Super Facts is a way to inform consumers about information beyond prices when they are about to purchase products. Super Facts is essentially an extension of the Nutrition Facts found on food items, but relevant to social conditions and applied to all products, not just food.

Every product sold would include a Super Facts label, which would list the following:
- A grade for the human impact that creating the product had, which would be lower if the company used sweatshops, child labor, or other poor practices.
- A grade for the environmental impact of the product, which would be lower if the company harmed the environment in the production, distribution, or disposal of the product.
- Whether the product included animal products or not, for the vegetarians out there.
- The political and philosophical stance of the company that created the product (e.g. progressive, moderate, conservative, pro-life, pro-choice, etc.).
- The actual parent company of the product, so that companies with poor reputations couldn't hide behind sub-brands.
- A URL where the consumer could find more detailed information about the product.

Just as restaurants get graded by the health department, products would get graded by the Super Facts Organization. These grades would be automatically generated based on information on the Internet and manually created based on other information. Of course, many companies may not be willing to include a Super Facts label on their products, but as the program gets more popular, the conspicuous absence of a label will effectively represent an admission of guilt."

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