Nicholas Confessore

New York Times

January 3, 2013


The New York State comptroller, seeking to force greater public disclosure of corporate political spending, has sued Qualcomm, demanding to view internal records of political expenditures by the company, one of the country’s largest makers of computer chips for mobile devices.

The suit by the comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli, was a novel and potentially significant tactic in the running battle over corporate political spending in the post-Citizens United era, after a 2010 Supreme Court ruling that opened the door to unlimited political spending by corporations and unions.

Qualcomm’s founder, the billionaire Irwin Jacobs, and some of the company’s top executives are major donors to the Democratic Party: Mr. Jacobs contributed at least $2.3 million to three Democratic “super PACs,” including one dedicated to re-electing President Obama, last year.

Mr. DiNapoli, a Democrat, is also seeking to determine whether Qualcomm made corporate contributions to tax-exempt groups and trade associations that are not required to disclose their donors. Such groups poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the 2012 election, including money from large corporations seeking to avoid negative publicity or customer outcries.


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