Wealthy corporate interests are once again coming after working people in an effort to silence our voice and clear the field of any opposition to their agenda. This latest attack comes in the form of a ballot initiative that corporate backers say is about special interests, but in fact is designed to strip middle class workers from having a voice in politics. This initiative has qualified to appear on the November 2012 general election ballot.
Proponents of the initiative claim it would rein in campaign contributions by both unions and corporations, but in fact, the deceptive wording of the initiative specifically targets union members, while a big loophole leaves corporate campaign contributions essentially unscathed and unchecked.
This initiative silences working people’s voice by prohibiting ANY voluntary political contributions from union members collected via payroll deduction.
This measure is NOT campaign finance reform, as its backers claim. In fact, the right-wing millionaire supporters of this initiative have written a giant loophole into the measure that would allow for UNLIMITED corporate spending on political campaigns.
This measure would result in big corporations and their lobbyists having even greater influence over our political system. Corporations already outspend unions 15-1 in politics. This measure would effectively clear the playing field of any opposition to big corporations’ agenda, which includes outsourcing jobs, slashing wages and health benefits and attacking retirement security.
The loophole in this measure would allow corporations to make unlimited expenditures through shadowy front groups to support or oppose candidates. The same goes for corporate contributions to ballot measures that support big business’s agenda.
This measure would severely restrict union members in both the public and private sector from having a voice in our political process. Every union in California would be impacted.
This is a partisan initiative in support of a national right-wing agenda. The sponsors of this measure are lawyers who work for the firm that represents the California Republican Party. The primary financial supporters are millionaires associated with the extreme right-wing Lincoln Club of Orange County.
Right-wing, anti-worker extremists including Grover Norquist have sponsored similar measures in dozens of states in the past. They also tried passing similar measures twice before in California; voters in California rejected those measures both times.
Despite the proponents’ claims that this initiative is geared toward “getting special interest money out of politics,” the truth is it’s a deceitful measure designed to silence plumbers, construction workers, teachers, nurses, firefighters and other working people while giving big corporations and CEOs free rein to exert limitless influence on our political system.
This initiative is misleading, deceptive and full of consequences that hurt all working families. It does absolutely nothing to limit corporate influence on politics while severely curtailing working people’s ability to have a voice. The result would be a devastating tilt in power to the corporate elite that would further undermine our state’s middle class.