This year I began interning for Move to Amend a grass roots movement focused on abolishing Corporate Personhood – the idea that Corporations are the same as human beings and that money is equal to speech. Obviously this concept is ridiculous and translates into lobbying groups having ultimate power over the voice of the people. I co-produce the weekly MTA radio show and I also write Op-Eds & blog posts on various political issues for the movement. My last article can be found here https://movetoamend.org/corporations-voters
The 2010 Citizens United verdict was an overreaching ruling by the Supreme Court which overturned a century of legislative trends to prevent corporate money from contaminating democracy. The last election cycle proved how individual voices are at risk of being stifled by anonymously funded super PACs. Take the recently exposed case of American Council of Engineering Companies California; this particular group supports privatization of public infrastructure work. It gifted $400,000 to a nonprofit in Virginia, Americans for Job Security which in turn gave this money to another vague non-profit organization in Arizona. This nonprofit then pumped $11 million to a committee in California which opposed Proposition 30, a tax increase on California’s top earners to fund schools and supported Proposition 32, deceptive initiative to crush labor unions. In order to improve their bottom-line these groups were determined to deny funding to schools and also make unions, a shrinking voice of the working class, powerless. Fortunately, the business group’s donation surfaced last month due to a Californian law requiring political action committees to show their spending, including money that goes to issue-advocacy groups.
Similarly Proposition 37, calling for a label stating genetically modified food was polling at 80% approval rate in California before agribusiness corporations poured $46 million into the state to misinform voters. Deceptive methods such as voter guides from fake front groups posing as cops, literacy groups, green groups and Democrats were mailed to homes in order to sway voters against Proposition 37. The last minute tactics worked to defeat the well-intended measure before voters had a chance to figure out fact from fiction.
With Congress polling at a single digit approval rating, the people clearly do not believe that their representatives are serving their best interests. Some of them have selected to channel their frustrations and participate in local grassroots movements to reverse the trend of corporations buying elections.