Planned Parenthood once boasted a list of sponsors that read like a who's who of the Fortune 100, but now some of the biggest companies say they never gave money to the embattled organization.
Coca-Cola, Ford and Xerox are all among the companies listed in a roster of corporate sponsors claimed by Planned Parenthood, but representatives for the companies said they either never donated to the organization or had not in years. Planned Parenthood, which is now reeling from the release of two undercover videos in which top officials alluded to selling fetus parts, had published the company names on the website of its Washington, DC, chapter. The list was part of an appeal to employees who the site said could double their donations with the help of their employers.
“Double the size of your gift. Does your employer match charitable contributions? If so, please contact your Human Resources Department for more information about how your gift may be matched,” read a line from the web page. “A partial list of companies with Corporate Matching Gift Programs includes: AT&T, Alcoa, American Express, Avon Products, Black & Decker, Circuit City, Citibank, Clorox, Coca-Cola, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Fidelity Investments, Ford Motor Company, Gannett, James River Corporation, Merck & Company, Microsoft Corporation, Motorola, Phillip Morris, T. Rowe Price, Prudential Insurance, Safeco Corporation, Sun Microsystems, Sunoco, Vanguard Group, Verizon, Washington Post Company, White & Case.”
“When a non-profit gets into controversy, global brands have to revisit their relationship no matter how small.”
- John Tantillo, marketing and branding expert
The page was taken down after Coca-Cola, Xerox and Ford Motor Company demanded their names be removed.
Planned Parenthood's financing has come under scrutiny in the wake of the video sting, which was carried out by the Center for Medical Progress. In the videos, Planned Parenthood officials were recorded talking to people posing as medical researchers about providing aborted fetal organs for research. Critics say the videos show Planned Parenthood is illegally harvesting and selling organs, although the organization's president, Cecile Richards, claims the group has done nothing illegal and is being smeared.
News that the organization may have misrepresented sponsorships prompted fresh criticism from the Center for Medical Progress.
"[This is] more evidence that there is big money in Planned Parenthood's abortion business," said Executive Director David Daleiden.
Several companies said they should never have been included among Planned Parenthood donors.
“We have never been a donor to Planned Parenthood,” a spokeswoman for Ford Motor Company told FoxNews.com. “And we haven’t matched employee contributions since 2005.”
Officials for Coca-Cola and Xerox did not immediately return requests for comment, but both issued statements saying they were not donors.
A spokesperson with Sunoco, Inc. said that they are not a corporate donor.
"Sunoco,Inc. and The Sunoco Foundation have not partnered with nor made any donations to Planned Parenthood, including employee matching gift contributions," a statement to FoxNews.com reads. "Recent reports of Planned Parenthood listing Sunoco as a prospective corporate donor are not based on any actual relationship between Sunoco and Planned Parenthood."
While the list on the Washington chapter's website was taken down, another list of companies that match employee gifts appears on Planned Parenthood’s national website, and includes Allstate, AT&T, Kraft Foods and Nike.
Officials for Planned Parenthood did not return repeated requests for comment.
Branding experts say that many non-profit groups will embellish their corporate backing as a selling point for donations.
“Coca-Cola may have sponsored one event, but that does not mean that they are a corporate sponsor,” John Tantillo, a New York-based marketing and branding expert, told FoxNews.com. “What you often do is embellish to make a strong selling point.”
Corporations, for their part, take into careful account how their relationships with non-profits like Planned Parenthood might look to the consumer.
“Brands have to be careful not alienate their clients,” he said. “When a non-profit gets into controversy, global brands have to revisit their relationship no matter how small.”
Some companies have done the opposite and said that they have and continue to support Planned Parenthood.
According to statements to the Daily Signal, global brands like Clorox, Levi Strauss and Verizon said they proudly match employee contributions to the non-profit.
“As part of our annual giving campaign at Clorox, the company provides employees the opportunity to make contributions to nonprofit organizations of their choice, which are matched through The Clorox Company Foundation,” read a statement from Clorox. “While the foundation does not select these organizations, we recognize that Clorox employees choose to support many different causes they care about. For perspective, year-to-date, approximately $2,000 in foundation matching funds have been directed toward Planned Parenthood. Last year, The Clorox Company Foundation donated more than $4 million in total to many nonprofit organizations.”
Planned Parenthood’s donor list was not the only thing that was scrutinized last week. On Friday, another report surfaced on the Daily Caller that Deborah Nucatola, who appeared on the first video released by the Center for Medical Progress and appeared to be discussing the sale of fetal tissue, was earning a six-figure income as an outside contractor even while drawing a salary from Planned Parenthood.
Perry Chiaramonte is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @perrych