Secret Money In Our Democracy
If you have nothing to hide, you don't hide.
Connect: In America, voters deserve to know who's funding our elected leaders and why.
Define: Corporations cannot vote in our democracy, but they can buy elections -- in secret and without accountability.
Expose: The most profitable investment big corporations can make is in a political campaign. The result? They get special tax breaks and the American people get stuck with the bill.
Discredit: When winning elections depends on getting the most secret money from the biggest secret donors, we no longer have a government by and for the people.
Bottom line: We deserve to know who's trying to buy our democracy. If corporate donors and the politicians they fund don't have anything to hide, they shouldn't hide.
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ATTACKS AND RESPONSES
- Actually, labor unions have to disclose everything they spend money on to the Dept. of Labor. Corporations and their shadowy front groups don't report anything. There's really no comparison.
- In fact, corporations outspend unions by more than 10 to 1. And when it comes to "soft money" -- the type of indirect campaign spending that can avoid all sorts of limits -- corporations have poured in almost 20 times more than labor over the last decade.
- Unions are made up of working people looking out for working people. Corporations look out for their CEOs and wealthy investors. When corporations raking in billions in profits can spend unlimited amounts buying our elections, working people don't stand a chance.
- This isn't about party or ideology. It's about too much money spent in political campaigns today, with nobody knowing where it comes from or how it's being spent to throw an election.
- When big corporations raking in billions can spend unlimited amounts of this money getting politicians to work for them, ordinary Americans lose, no matter where they stand on the issues.
- Almost all Americans -- including more than half of Republicans and three-quarters of Independents -- agree it's time to put reasonable limits on campaign contributions and spending.
QUOTES TO REMEMBER
"I have lots of money, and can give it legally now. Just never to Democrats."
--Harold Simmons, Texas billionaire and top donor to the GOP
"Public disclosure of campaign contributions and spending should be expedited so voters can judge for themselves what is appropriate."
--Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican Leader, in 1997
"When campaigns spend the kind of money they're now spending...I think that's wrong... These kinds of associations between money and politics in my view are wrong. And for that reason I would like have campaign spending limits."
--Mitt Romney, in 1994
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Two-thirds of all voters and three-quarters of independents say that big donors and secret money undermine our democracy, and three-fourths want common-sense limits on the money that people can contribute to political campaigns because there is too much money in politics.
- In the 2010 Citizens United case, the Supreme Court decided 5-4 to give corporations the power to spend unlimited money buying our elections -- and loopholes in the current system allow them to do it in secret and without any accountability to the public.
- In the 2010 election cycle, groups that didn't disclose their underlying donors report spending over $130 million -- meaning nearly 50% of the outside spending was unaccountable.
- In this presidential election, Republican candidates, party committees, and outside groups have already spent $270 million on broadcast advertising, compared with about $130 million for the Democratic side.
- All told, Republican super PACs are expected to outspend Democratic-aligned super PACs by a factor of four to five or more -- all to defeat President Obama.
- Over 30 billionaires have already donated tens of millions to Mitt Romney's super PAC, including Big Oil tycoons and hedge fund managers. Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson said he'll spend $100 million to beat President Obama while the anti-Obama Koch brothers have pledged $395 million for the 2012 election cycle.
- In return, these billionaires will get billions back from taxpayers if their Republican candidate wins -- in the form of massive tax breaks and bigger corporate profits at the expense of working families and our clean air and water.
We develop messaging by aggregating, analyzing and distilling polling, tested messaging, and expert recommendations, and monitoring the media to identify what is and isn't working. See here for some of the experts and organizations we draw on.
Posted in - Labor - Taxes - Economy - Campaign Finance - 2012 Elections