Montana Citizens Opposing Political Corruption
From Corporate Contributions
Q: What has President Barack Obama said about the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of Citizens United?
A: "Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections. Well, I don't think the American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities." State of the Union Address, 2010.
Q: OK, how does a Political Action Committee (PAC) fit into all this?
A: Political Action Committees were a legal way for corporations to make contributions subject to disclosure laws. PACs no longer seem to be needed for independent expenditures.
Q: Will Montana lose its disclosure
A: Everyone from the U.S. Supreme Court to our local officials assure us that this will not happen. But the attack on Montana's disclosure laws has already begun. American Tradition Partnership does not want its free speech rights to force them to declare their donors in public. Anonymity seems to be in their definition of free speech. The case is before Judge Sherlock and gives him a chance to redeem himself in the eyes of the voters.
Q: Now that corporations can do as they please concerning campaign contributions, what can we expect to happen next?
A: Surprisingly, all is not gloom and doom. Some shareholders are coming forward to exert influence on their corporate boards with seventy-five of the S&P 500 companies already disclosing political expenditures. It is a hopeful sign.
During the Annual Shareholder’s Meeting of PepsiCo, Inc. on May 4, 2011, a proposal will be voted on that would require the board to prepare a Political Contributions Report and have it ready for review September 2011. The report will establish a policy for oversight of political spending both direct and indirect.
Whereas: Political spending by companies is increasingly controversial, heightened by the recent Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which allows companies to make independent expenditures in favor of or in opposition to, a candidate’s election campaign.
Resolved: The board of PepsiCo will review and disclose any direct and indirect campaign expenditures, including payments to trade associations that may hide such expenditures.