Secrets of Corporate Giving

The Center for Political Accountability is trying to boost shareholder efforts to make firms reveal their political contributions

Merck prides itself on being socially enlightened. The drugmaker gives its employees diversity training and extends health insurance to same-sex partners. But a report to be released this week by the Washington-based Center for Political Accountability (C.P.A.) shows that in the 2004 elections, Merck was one of 18 companies that gave money to judicial candidates whose conservative views clashed with the corporations' liberal policies. Merck, the report says, donated $1,000 to Samac Richardson, a business-friendly candidate for the Mississippi Supreme Court who ran on an anti-gay-marriage platform and in a TV ad boasted to a white audience of his status as...

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