A coalition of labor groups has begun collecting signatures for an initiative that would bar corporations from spending on political campaigns without first consulting shareholders. The initiative, which would not come before voters until next June, is in direct response to the "Paycheck Deception" measure on this year's special election ballot. If passed, it will restrict public employee unions from donating to election campaigns without prior approval from individual union members.
It seems unfortunate that our side didn't have this all ready to go for the special election, in which case it would have provided a lot more bargaining power. And it seems as though a real clean money law, for instance this one by Assemblymember Loni Hancock that died this year, is the true solution to the problem of big corporations buying elected leaders and influence.
Still, this analysis from the California Chamber of Commerce is enough to make anyone's blood boil:
Allan Zaremberg, president and chief executive of the California Chamber of Commerce, said it would stifle corporations trying to fight ballot measures that could "put them out of business."
"It would be inappropriate to deny them the ability to participate in the political process," he said.
Right. But groups representing working families shouldn't be able to participate in the political process in order to ensure they can PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE. Two words: unmitigated gall.
The news leaves many counties scrambling for alternatives to meet at January 2006 requirement, but also allows fair election advocates to breathe a sigh of relief - in California, anyway. The good folks in Ohio, home of Diebold corporate headquarters, say their machines are going to be just fine.
After all, they helped deliver another term for George W. Bush!