The Supreme Court's perverse ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission gave corporations the "right" to spend unlimited money to influence elections.
Powerful multinational corporations already exerted disproportionate influence in Washington. Citizens United makes this problem much, much worse.
Here are the policies that will help disentangle the corporate tentacles from our government.
1. Shareholder Protection
Corporate America shouldn’t be able to use the public's retirement savings or other investments as a political war chest. When you own stock in a corporation, you own the corporation – and you should have a say in how it spends your money. The Shareholder Protection Act (H.R. 2517, S. 1360) would let shareholders, not CEOs, decide whether and how corporations spend money to influence elections.
2. Disclosure of Political Spending
Transparency will enable the public to hold activist corporations accountable. The Securities and Exchange Commission should require publicly traded companies to disclose their political spending, and President Obama should issue his executive order requiring disclosure of election spending by government contractors.
3. Public Financing of Elections
The Fair Elections Now Act (H.R. 1404, S. 750) would enable candidates to run competitive campaigns on small contributions matched by public funds, leaving them no excuse to chase after campaign cash from lobbyists and wealthy special interests.
4. Constitutional Amendment
Ultimately, we need a constitutional amendment to tell the Supreme Court that corporate spending is not the same thing as free speech by real people.