Some citizen activists want to get money out of politics.
Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) wants to take a baby step — get corporate crime money out of politics.
Ellison has introduced legislation — the Protect Democracy from Criminal Corporations Act — that would limit campaign expenditures by corporations that break the law.
“Five years ago today, the Supreme Court decided corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections,” Ellison said. “Some of the resulting $700 million raised by SuperPACs in 2014 came from companies that conspired to defraud the federal government or committed other felonies involving dishonesty or a breach of trust. Until we restore the power to people and reverse the decision in Citizens United, companies that break the law shouldn’t be allowed to flood our democracy with dirty money.”
And what exactly is a corporate criminal?
According to the legislation, it’s any corporation that has been convicted of violating Title 18 — relating to conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud the United States — or convicted of a federal felony involving dishonesty or breach of trust.
But not just that.
A corporation is a corporate criminal if it is charged with such a felony and settles the matter with “a non prosecution agreement, a deferred prosecution agreement, or any other agreement with the Attorney General to resolve the charge, if the terms and conditions of the agreement include a requirement that the corporation make a payment equal to or greater than $1,000,000.”
That would bring in a big chunk of corporate America.
But Ellison apparently believes in corporate rehabilitation. The prohibition on political spending by corporate criminals would last for only six years after the conviction or deal cut with the Attorney General.
Then the corporate criminal could start donating again.
Until the next conviction.