Jan 23, 2014
Jan. 21 was the fourth anniversary of the disastrous Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that determined that corporations are people when it comes to political spending and can force their political views on their workers.
Marking the anniversary, CWA President Larry Cohen said, "Citizens United opened the floodgates to unlimited corporate money in elections, but in a lesser known but equally destructive move, it overturned laws prohibiting employers from forcing their employees to listen to their political views – legalizing the one-sided tactics that have long been a hallmark of anti-union campaigns. For decades workplace rights have been attacked. Now our political rights can be threatened as well."
During the 2012 election cycle, candidates, parties and outside groups spent $7 billion.
Right now, we're waiting for the Supreme Court's decision in another case, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, which is challenging caps on the total amount that a wealthy donor can directly give to all PACs, campaigns and parties combined – what's known as "aggregate contribution limits." If the court strikes down contribution limits, one affluent donor would be able to give more than $3.6 million in direct contributions.
What's the impact of all this money? It's a growing conviction by Americans that their votes don't count, that our political process is controlled by the biggest bankroll, and that money, not the public interest, sets policies and priorities in government. All this big money gives a big voice to the wealthy and corporations, at the expense of the rest of us. It threatens the democratic voice that is the foundation of our country. Our representatives spend more than half their time raising money, providing unprecedented access to special-interest lobbyist and elites who can afford $5,000-a-plate breakfasts, ski trips, pheasant hunts and luxury golf tournaments.
"That's why we are building a political movement for democracy that makes it clear that money is not speech and the corporations are not people. In our 21st century democracy, the rights of all of us to participate effectively in our democracy must be cherished," Cohen said.
The Democracy Initiative is working to get big money out of politics. Learn more at http://www.democracyforus.org/.