-By Dan Froomkin
March 12, 2012- WASHINGTON — CEOs may think twice before making what they intend to be secret campaign donations from their corporate treasuries, now that a progressive reform group is offering a $25,000 reward to the first employee who rats one of them out.
"We think there are a lot of big corporations on the bubble about whether they're going to use corporate funds to try to affect the outcome of the election," said Bob Creamer, a consultant with Americans United for Change, the group offering the bounty.
"And we want to make it clear that they cannot take that kind of action without the risk of economic consequences."
A key factor for CEOs, Creamer said, will be whether or not they are confident that their corporate contribution will remain secret.
The Target Corporation famously faced a boycott threat in the summer of 2010 until it apologized for one of its political donations that became public.
"The message is: In the digital age, nothing is secret," Creamer said. "The $25,000 is intended to make those CEOs wonder if the person down the hall — who may look at an email or have some direct knowledge of the corporation's activity — may decide that $25,000 is worth more than their loyalty to that corporation."
The whistleblower fund is one way progressive and campaign reform groups are trying to limit the effects of the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision.