Monday, October 4, 2010

New coalition wants companies to pledge
not to use corporate dollars on political campaigns

From Dan Eggen of The Washington Post on Oct. 4:
Several prominent Democratic politicians plan to announce a new coalition Monday aimed at pressuring major companies to foreswear using corporate money on political campaigns.

The Coalition for Acountability in Political Spending, spearheaded by New York City PUblic Advocate Bill de Blasio (D), aims to secure promises from major corporations to fully disclose any political spending and, ideally, to avoid spending corporate money directly on elections.

The effort marks the latest response to the Supreme Court's landmark ruling early this year in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which allows corporations, unions and nonprofit groups to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections. The ruling has helped fuel a record year for spending by outside interest groups, mostly in favor of Republicans, records show.

The new coalition springs out of a successful effort by de Blasio, who serves as a trustee for New York City's largest pension fund, to convince Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley to adopt policies against spending money from their general treasuries in elections. The firms will still run their own political-action committees, which are operated independently, officials said.

De Blasio said in an interview that the national effort was necessary because of the failure of Congress to agree to new disclosure requirements for corporations.

"The efforts to respond to Citizens United on the federal level haven't worked, so it's time for states and localities to step up," di Blasio said. "We have to encourage transparency and discourage bad corporate behavior."


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