The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Lori Lodes 202-730-7680,

Batten Down the Hatches: Supreme Court Opens Floodgates for Corporate Spending in Elections

Americans deserve accountability, transparency and ethical standards for corporate electoral activity in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United says SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger


Burger, SEIU Secretary-Treasurer and Chair of the Change to Win labor
federation, released the following statement condemning today's United
States Supreme Court decision
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission:

"Today the US
Supreme Court lifted the floodgates and started dismantling century-old
restrictions on corporate electoral activity in the name of the 'free
speech rights' of corporations-meaning if you are a 'corporate person'
(aka a CEO or corporate official), you are now free to hit the
corporate ATM and spend whatever of your shareholders' money it takes
to elect the candidates of your choice.

corporate spending in federal elections threatens to drown out the
voices of the people who should really be at the center of the
political process, i.e., voters and candidates. Unleashing corporate spending will only serve to distort and ultimately delegitimize the electoral process.

"Let's be
clear: corporations have already been shilling out a lot of cash for
political activities, letting their shareholders and managerial
employees know exactly which candidates they want to win or lose
elections and paying heavy sums for attack ads, direct mail and other
forms of public communication through PACs.

"But with today's Citizens United
decision, the Court has given corporate managers the greenlight to
bypass the checks and balances, use unlimited amounts from the general
treasury -funds that should be used to increase the value of the
business or pay dividends to shareholders-to instead pay for public
communications expressly advocating the election or defeat of the
candidates of their choice.

"Our democratic process was meant to protect the people not profit margins and today's decision makes
the need for an effective system for public funding, effective
disclosure regulations, and other reforms of federal elections all the
more pressing.

"We look forward to working with concerned
individuals, officials and groups to remedy to the greatest degree
possible the unfortunate consequences of this Supreme Court decision,
through legislation and other appropriate means."

With 2 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers--not just corporations and CEOs--benefit from today's global economy.