Tech firms get low marks on transparency

Tech companies spend millions of dollars on political donations and lobbying, yet they are also some of the least transparent, according to a new report.

A new analysis from the Center for Political Accountability and the University of Pennsylvania’s Zicklin Center for Business Ethics showed that the information technology sector ranked near the bottom of industries it reviewed, with an overall score of 44 out of 100. 

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Two tech companies — Netflix and Salesforce — were given a score of 0 on the organization’s annual list.

Still, many tech firms scored well on the list. Qualcomm, Microsoft and Intel were cited as some of the top 20 firms for disclosure and accountability.

“Although surging secret spending has fueled public suspicion and even allegations of political scandal, many of the nation’s leading public companies have announced opposition to the practice,” the organizations said in their new analysis. “By standing up for sunlight and adopting public disclosure policies, they are laying the foundation for a new route to political disclosure.”

Facebook, Google and Oracle scored slightly below the average score of 56.4. Yahoo and Apple were among those slightly below that score.

Tech’s relatively poor showing, which was first highlighted by The New York Times, could be seen as a growing pain for many companies that are still relatively new and struggling to grow comfortable with the norms and expectations of Washington.

The analysis released on Thursday measures companies’ publicly disclosed policies and looks at how well it reveals its payments to trade groups and publicly details its political spending.