We deserve a country where our elected officials are not bought and paid for by Big Business. But this month's Supreme Court decision in the case Citizens United vs. FEC overturned over a century of precedent and opened the floodgates for unlimited amounts of corporate money to flow into our political system. Shockingly, the court's decision may even allow foreign corporations and large multinationals to manipulate our elections.
If we do nothing, this ruling has the potential to undermine the very foundation of our democracy.
Sign our petition to President Obama and the Congressional leadership telling them they must enact strong laws to save our democracy from the pernicious influence of corporate money.
Representative Alan Grayson has been one the most forceful voices in responding to this crisis. He has introduced a number of bills as part of a "Save Our Democracy" initiative to blunt some of the worst implications of the Supreme Court's decision.
1. The Business Should Mind Its Own Business Act (H.R. 4431): Implements a 500% excise tax on corporate contributions to political committees, and on corporate expenditures on political advocacy campaigns.
2. The Public Company Responsibility Act (H.R. 4435): Prevents companies making political contributions and expenditures from trading their stock on national exchanges.
3. The End Political Kickbacks Act (H.R. 4434): Prevents for-profit corporations that receive government money from making political contributions, and limits the amount that employees of those companies can contribute.
4. The Corporate Propaganda Sunshine Act (H.R. 4432): Requires publicly traded companies to disclose in SEC filings money used for the purpose of influencing public opinion, rather than for promoting their products and services.
5. The Ending Corporate Collusion Act (H.R. 4433): Applies antitrust law to industry PACs.
6. The End the Hijacking of Shareholder Funds Act (H.R. 4487): This bill requires the approval of a majority of a public company's shareholders for any expenditure by that company to influence public opinion on matters not related to the company's products or services.
Without these types of laws, it will be even harder for candidates and elected officials to stand up to Big Business. Even before the decision, we too often saw the interests of Main Street subverted in favor of the interests of Wall Street. But with the Citizens United decision now the law of the land, large corporations have the power to spend unlimited amounts of money from their general treasuries to buy elections.
To put things in perspective, the roughly $745 million Barack Obama raised to run for President (which was the most money raised by any candidate ever to run for office in the U.S.) is dwarfed by the $45 billion in profits a single company (ExxonMobil) made in 2008.
We have heard that the Democratic leadership in the House and the Senate will be deciding in the next few weeks upon a legislative package to push in response to the Citizens United decision. We need to ensure they respond boldly.
Sign our petition telling President Obama and the leaders of Congress that you support Rep. Grayson's "Save Our Democracy" agenda.