Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Opposing Corporate Domination of Elections

A corporation is not a person. Bank of America does not come over for dinner; Countrywide isn't a regular at Thanksgiving. Neither has ever been included in "We the People."

But, just last week, in a shocking burst of radical judicial activism, a slim majority on the U.S. Supreme Court showed they are on the cusp of granting corporations the right to spend unlimited money on ads in our elections under the guise that corporations are "citizens" with rights no different than yours and mine. [1]

As the justices consider overturning almost 100 years of precedent, we can't sit idly by and watch them write corporations a blank check to overwhelm our democratic elections with their loud and expensive speech. Justices are often hesitant to overturn long-standing precedent, especially if the public is strongly opposed to change.

So, right now, before they get too far down the wrong path, please write a letter to the editor of your local paper. And ask three friends to write letters as well. Click here to see a sample letter.

If the justices decide to tear down decades of established law, Senators from Maine to California will begin to look more like Senators from ExxonMobil and Citicorp. In 2008, ExxonMobil's Political Action Committee solicited employees for donations to a campaign war chest on behalf of federal candidates. The PAC raised less than $1 million in voluntary individual contributions.

During this same election cycle, ExxonMobil's corporate profits were $85 billion, more than 8,000 times as much!

Now imagine if ExxonMobil's CEO could freely write checks from the corporate treasury account to run advertisements for or against candidates. If they only spent 1% -- $850 million -- this would have been FIVE TIMES what all corporate PACs in America raised to spend on congressional campaigns in 2008.

We have already joined with our coalition partners and filed a brief in the Citizen's United case arguing against such a radical restructuring of our political process. [2]

Now you can help by writing a letter to your local paper.

Click below if you'd like help writing a letter to the editor of your local paper. Make it known that the oil and gas industry, the insurance industry, and Wall Street firms are not people and that saying so mocks our democracy.

[See also here.]

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