Epiphanyblog

All about ideas…

Election reform needed NOW!

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Lobbying powerhouse, K&L Gates, is already advising corporations on how to contribute and affect elections without having to face public scrutiny…or public knowledge.

Just because a corporation may make an independent direct advocacy expenditure doesn’t mean that it should. Since the entity or entities financing independent expenditures must be disclosed, a corporation leading the way against a particular candidate risks alienating a significant block of its potential customer or shareholder base. Moreover, upon the first major corporate-funded public communications airing, media coverage is likely to focus on the corporation’s involvement in the campaign rather than the content of any advocacy.

Therefore, most corporations will probably proceed cautiously. If such independent expenditures are made, groups of corporations within an industry may form coalitions or use existing trade associations to support candidates favorable to policy positions that affect the group as a whole. While corporations that contribute to these expenditures might still be disclosed, this indirect approach can provide sufficient cover such that no single contributing entity receives the bulk of public scrutiny.

Corporations could further lower their profile in such cases by not making contributions specific to a particular expenditure by that third-party corporation. Such independent expenditures can also take the form of advertisements in “under-the radar” sources, such as ideologically-based talk radio, web-based ads or phone banks. Since state and local laws preventing corporate political expenditures will also likely be repealed as a result of Citizens United, small corporations may also become involved in state and local races through regional media.

In other words, K&L Gates recommends that companies use organizations like the Chamber of Commerce – and many others that undoubtedly will spring up – to run ad campaigns for or against a candidate thereby saving themselves any scrutiny or public backlash.

Madison, Jefferson and even the Federalist Hamilton would be screaming in the media, showing their outrage over the perversion of the electoral process which they envisioned. Free speech is one thing but quite another when the monied “person” doing the speaking is hidden behind an innocuous sounding front group.

Join Larry Lessig and the millions of American voters who demand “open” election advocacy and less dependence upon lobbyist and special interest money.

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Written by Valerie Curl

February 18, 2010 at 12:39 PM

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