When I first sat down and read about Proposition 32 I wondered why so many people were telling me to vote no on it. It bans both union and corporate contributions to state and local candidates. I’m all for getting money out of politics. The prop even claims to have no exemptions and no loopholes. Finally, a straight-forward bill that our bureaucrats put together to help kick corruption out of politics—about time! But that’s when I started feeling nervous and decided to delve into the lost art of journalistic research, and I soon got scared.
Proposition 32 claims to block unions and corporations from using payroll deductions to raise money for political spending. Where’s the harm in that?
According to the LA Times, Prop 32 would leave some special interests crippled while others would be free to grow and grow. It turns out unions rely overwhelmingly on payroll deductions while corporations rarely use them for political contributions. By cutting the payroll deductions, the flow of money from unions would reduce to a trickle and corporations would continue to flow.
Corporations use most of their money to fund campaigns from their treasury department, which the proposition would not control, leaving them free to spend any amount they want. It seems corporations are merely getting a slap on the wrist while the unions are being choked with both hands.
There has to be at least one redeeming quality for the proposition, though, otherwise why would it even be chosen to get voted in? It turns out prop 32 also claims to ban direct contributions to campaigns from both unions and corporations. Finally, now it’s looking good.
While this sounds like a step in a great direction, this essentially will do nothing for unions or corporations alike. In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations and unions have the same political speech rights as individuals under the First Amendment and are protected to back whomever they want with as much money they want. Well, that’s just great. If Prop 32 passes it won’t even be able to regulate direct contributions because federal law trumps it. It also turns out that it would add increased costs to state and local government, exceeding $1 million annually to enforce the measure. It now has become a bill that will give corporations the upper hand in elections, will be costly to enforce and will leave unions to lose their grip in politics. So who is behind all this? Who is trying to make it so corporations gain a monopoly on controlling campaigns in the future?
According to Ballotpedia, American Future Fund (AFF), a political advertisement company, is one of the leading donors of Prop 32, funneling in over $4 million in support of the proposition. Their website’s front page displays brilliant, patriotic hues of red, white and blue along with the slogan, “Advocating conservative, free market ideals.” Along with the AFF, the New Majority PAC is also a major donor. Take a minute to scroll onto their front page and in a blue background with white letters it will read, “The New Majority California Endorses Mitt Romney for President.” If Proposition 32 passes, the AFF would be able to collect as much money as possible from conservative corporations to put out ads for the “conservative, free market” campaigns they support. The AFF is simply feeding the hand that feeds them, a continuous circle of greed and control that must be stopped if we want corruption out of our politics.
These special interests backing the proposition are seeking to control our voice within the local and state government. Companies like the AFF are using this proposition as a tool to push their own conservative agenda into California’s government while simultaneously smothering the democratic voice—the voice of hard-working unions of teachers, firemen and nurses.
While special interest corporations are at the top of the donor list in favor of Prop 32, surely donors opposing the proposition are the same big businesses seeking to keep the common persons voice at bay, right? Here are just a few donors that are listed under the top 10 contributors advocating against Proposition 32: The California Teachers Association, the California Professional Firefighters, the California Nurses Association, the California Labor Federation and, of course, the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association. There you have it; those blood-sucking, parasitic teachers, firefighters, nurses, laborers and cops are at it again, trying to stop a proposition so they can shovel their billions into campaigns.
The evidence is overwhelming. This proposition has been put out to further aide Republicans and corporations gain complete control of campaign contributions while eliminating any competition that support campaigns they believe in.
There is no question that pumping money into politics is a bad idea; scandals and money-driven government deals seem to be made every day. It is hard for us to ever see a future where money doesn’t go hand in hand with the people running our country. I am not in support of either side funding politics at the local or state level, but I am in support of standing up against injustices within our government. This proposition is exactly that—an injustice to not only democrats and unions but to all of us. If we sit back and allow this proposition to pass it will only further drive the conservative corporation juggernaut to tighten the leash around all of us. It will only encourage big corporations to dictate how we should be controlled. Vote no on prop 32.