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Posts Tagged ‘corporate power’

People are taking action across the country to mark the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that corporate political spending is the same thing as real speech by real people.

Left unchecked, the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling will have grave consequences for our democracy. In last fall’s elections, corporate spending soared, and sources of outside spending were kept secret. This outside money was a major factor in 80 percent of the races where power changed hands.

Now, any lawmaker who is interested in standing against corporate interests has to figure out how to say ‘no’ to corporate lobbyists wielding the resources to replace him or her with a more corporate-friendly lawmaker.

But We, the People are mobilizing to fight back.

From Massachusetts to Oregon, Florida to Alaska, more than 100 demonstrations are being held throughout the nation.
Even a group of socially conscious business corporations, led by Ben & Jerry’s, is standing up to assert that we need a constitutional amendment to stop the corporate takeover of our democracy.

Nearly a million concerned citizens have signed petitions calling on Congress to pass such a constitutional amendment — petitions that will be delivered to Congress at noon today (Public Citizen’s petition is at www.DontGetRolled.org).

If you’re participating in today’s actions, be sure to take pictures, make videos, blog and tweet about what you’re doing. You can share your photos, videos and other documentation with us by sending an email to action@citizen.org, sending a tweet to @Public_Citizen or posting it on our Facebook page. (more…)

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Corporate America is raking in higher profits than ever before.

On Capitol Hill, lobbyists are calling for cuts to line the pockets of the super-rich while gouging holes in the safety net for those hit hardest by the Great Recession.

And in January, a new Congress will arrive — a Congress stacked with members whose campaigns reaped the benefits of the limitless corporate money unleashed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

It’s time for We, the People to take a stand.

Join us next month in demonstrations against Corporate America on the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. To stay in the loop on planning and preparations, sign up at www.citizen.org/i-will-stand-up-to-corporate-america.
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Tea Party protestersTea Party members who want to punish corporations for supporting the policies of President Obama or congressional Democrats should demand that their senators pass the DISCLOSE Act (S.3628).

That’s the conclusion I came to after reading Paul Bedard’s Washington Whispers column in today’s U.S. News & World Report.

Bedard’s piece offers some interesting speculation by Tea Party organizers about upcoming campaigns to punish corporations that supported “President Obama’s progressive agenda.”

But Bedard doesn’t mention that the eager Tea Partiers will have no way to know which corporations to target, since so many corporations secretly give money to Big Business’ lobbying heavyweight, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and let it do the dirty work. (more…)

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Next Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in AT&T v. Concepcion, a significant case that will decide whether corporations can use the fine print of their contracts to ban consumers and employees from participating in class actions. Public Citizen’s Deepak Gupta is lead counsel for the respondents in the case.

David Lazarus of the Los Angeles Times discussed the case in a column today. The Huffington Post saw fit to highlight Lazarus’ article, posting it as its lead central story for a time on its web site. The story has garnered over 4,000 comments from readers, mostly critical of business’ effort to take away ordinary citizens’ legal rights.

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund points out on its web site that the outcome of AT&T v. Concepcion could have severe implications on civil rights litigation. Class action lawsuits, such as Brown v. Board of Education, made “significant progress toward the Constitutional aspiration of a “more perfect Union,”” the NAACPLDF says on it web site.

Consumer Action, a national nonprofit organization that provides consumer advocacy and education, released a statement today on the case. “Class actions are a critical tool for consumers to pursue justice against giant corporations like AT&T,” says National Priorities Director Linda Sherry.

Both the NAACPLDF and Consumer Action submitted amicus briefs in favor of the consumers in Concepcion.

Christine Hines is the consumer and civil justice counsel for Public Citizen.

Cross-posted from FairArbitrationNow.org

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Today’s Flickr photo

Let the sanity commence! Flickr photo by antisocialtory.

If you read one thing today…

Public Citizen supporters want to take on corporate power, Public Citizen’s “What Sign Should I Bring To Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity” showed, portraying the public’s frustration with the corporate-dominated status quo in Washington. Of the thousands of submissions, Public Citizen chose our fave four to print and distribute tomorrow on the National Mall.  Here are the winners and their prize slogans:

  • “Separation of Corporation and State” (Elizabeth, North Carolina);
  • “We, the People NOT We, the Corporations” (Alan, Colorado);
  • “It’s a Democracy, Not an Auction” (Eric, Washington state); and
  • “Keep Your Government Hands Off My Corporate Overlords!” (Ken, Washington state).

Overheard

“Sanity is no simple proposition in Washington, D.C., where narrow corporate interests routinely block commonsense policies to strengthen our nation and preserve our planet,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “Our contest’s submissions highlight that restoring sanity requires taking on corporate power.”

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There is a battle going on in California that has a direct impact on the future of our planet. I’m speaking, of course, about Proposition 23. Proposition 23 is a ballot initiative that would effectively repeal many of California’s revolutionary clean energy policies. There are many special interests taking advantage of the opportunities Proposition 23 presents to them.

Oil interests are especially invested in whether Proposition 23 succeeds. Heading up the movement to support Proposition 23 is Koch Industries. Koch Industries is the group that, along with Rupert Murdoch, Karl Rove, and others, essentially funds the Tea Party movement. Businessman David Koch has thus gained immense power.

ClimateProgress published an article today about Koch’s attempts to use this power to support Proposition 23. In the article, ClimateProgress quotes environmental activist Van Jones on the subject of Koch Industries and Proposition 23:

Koch Industries has promoted awful environmental policies. They’ve been literally poisoning rivers, poisoning streams, and making money off of that. They’ve promoted now this awful economic idea that if you grow new industries in California you somehow hurt the economy. That’s nuts. And now they’re promoting bad politics by backing I think extreme movements in the United States. Here you have a bad actor, three strikes and you’re out. They’re bad on the environment in terms of their practices, they’re bad in terms of their economic philosophy they’re trying to shove down the throats of California, and they’re bad in their politics in terms of their supporting extreme political ideas in America. I think if you start connecting those dots, California voters are very sophisticated, and I don’t think any of them think the people who run Koch Industries wake up in the morning thinking how can Californians have better jobs? […]

Koch Industries is a very dangerous group (more…)

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As campaign finance continues to cause heated debate amongst party leaders, Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) is quickly becoming the poster child for corporate influence on Capitol Hill.

On Saturday, The New York Times detailed the strong ties between corporate lobbyists and Boehner. His inner circle includes representatives from some of the biggest companies in the country, like R.J. Reynolds, Miller Coors and Goldman Sachs.

They have raised huge pots of money for him, of course. For instance, at least $340,000 donated to Boehner’s political campaigns came from the pockets of people closely affiliated with the tobacco industry. Boehner’s relationship with the tobacco industry dates back to 1996, when he was caught handing out checks from large tobacco companies to fellow Republicans on the of the House of Representatives.

Notable also is Boehner’s travel record. Over the past decade, the representative has taken approximately 41 trips, mostly to resort golf destinations – all sponsored by various corporations and industry groups.

Fundraising for Mr. Boehner is especially important to watch as he begins his campaign to be Speaker of the House if Republicans attain the majority after November’s elections. His “Boehner for Speaker” campaign, launched in June this year, has already raised almost $2 million.

“While many lawmakers in each party have networks of donors, lobbyists and former aides who now represent corporate interests, Mr. Boehner’s ties seem especially deep,” the Times wrote. “His clique of friends and current and former staff members even has a nickname on Capitol Hill, Boehner Land. The members of this inner circle said their association with Mr. Boehner translates into open access to him and his staff.”

While the concept of ‘Boehner may be a running joke in the representative’s large inner-circle, the idea is a nightmare to anyone who fears more corporate involvement in Congress.

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