In order to try and sway legislation or other political acts, it is illegal for lobbyists, or the people and businesses that employ them, to make promises of campaign contributions. Some may even refer to it as purchasing votes. And there are safeguards against that.

For instance, while the state legislature is in session and considering proposals, legislators are not permitted to take donations for their campaigns from organisations that use lobbyists. As happened a few years ago when the political arm of the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer improperly distributed tens of thousands of dollars during a legislative session, if anyone breaks that rule, the politicians are required to turn over the money to the state and the donor is also required to pay a fine. But money talks, and the legislature isn’t always in session.

There are several political organisations that assist businesses or business associations in funding politicians in an effort to select new representatives who share or may come to share their viewpoints. Duke Energy and its workers spend millions of dollars annually on lobbying, campaign donations, and other types of political activities, along with a select few other influential political figures in North Carolina. Although figuring out exactly how they do it can be challenging, there are four primary ways that money moves:

Duke spends millions on lobbying in the state and federal capitals of numerous states. The corporation has nine lobbyists only in Raleigh. Strata, the largest solar company in the region, has three. The NRA has two: The business itself has the ability to contribute money directly to political parties or other political organisations. Then, they can utilise Duke’s funds to fund advertisements or distribute them to additional organisations or politicians. Like everyone else, the company’s employees are free to donate money to candidates and causes.

Additionally, the business maintains a political action committee (PAC) that formally advocates its interests. The majority of the donors are all highly compensated executives, yet it is sponsored by Duke employees rather than corporate coffers.