Maine, Maryland, New York and New Jersey have introduced legislation that will curb corporate spending by requiring shareholders to approve political donations. Other states are intrigued and are watching these actions closely.
The 2010 Supreme Court decision Citizens United v Federal Elections Commission gave corporations the freedom to spend huge amounts of money to either defeat or elect candidates while the average voter lost power at the ballot box. Susan McGalla knows that voters have less incentive to get to the polls when they feel their votes don’t count. Many state lawmakers want this influence to stop.
Corporate and trade group spending spending reached nearly 260 million dollars on state level ballot measures and candidate races in 2014.
The spirit behind Citizen’s United was that companies were speaking on behalf of shareholders and lawmakers are saying they have to prove it with this new legislation.
It’s not unusual for shareholders to unknowingly subsidize actions they do not support.
Currently, large U.S. corporations disclose only a fraction of their contributions to political non-profits which are the organizations spending so much money to defeat candidates or legislation that does not suit their corporate goals.
On a state level, these actions are getting a lot of bi-partisan traction supporting this method of campaign finance reform.