Feb. 23, 2015
How Dark Money Is Distorting Politics and Undermining Democracy
By Bruce F. Freed and Karl J. Sandstrom
The Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision and subsequent court rulings deregulating political spending have greatly increased the influence of corporate special interests. Today, corporations are among the leading underwriters of Washington politics and a dominant force shaping its policy-making. Long gone are the days when unions and government could balance the impact of corporations.
At the same time, a large swath of political spending has gone underground. Prior to Citizens United, election spending by companies, unions and individuals was subject to limits and carried out with disclosure of donors. Post-Citizens United, the limits are gone for corporations. Donor secrecy reigns. Corporations can spend to influence elections directly, or indirectly through trade associations or so-called “social welfare” organizations as long as these groups don’t coordinate with a political candidate. The result is significant growth in “dark money” influence.
Read the entire series at The Fiscal Times.
Washington Post Op-Ed: U.S. Companies Shine Sunlight on 'Dark Money'
(The following op-ed by Bruce F. Freed, CPA president, and Charles E.M. Kolb, president of the Committee for Economic Development from 1997 to 2012 and deputy assistant for domestic policy to President George H.W. Bush from 1990 to 1992, appeared in The Washington Post on Dec. 29, 2014.)
In the nearly five years since the Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United ruling, a significant movement in U.S. corporate governance has gained traction without attracting much notice: An expanding cross-section of U.S. businesses are acting independently to create a culture of transparency and accountability in regard to their influence on our political system.
Roll Call Highlights CPA Successes
The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision five years ago has generated a conservative backlash against disclosure. In addition it has spawned a conservative drive “to discredit political transparency, forestall new reporting restrictions and challenge disclosure regulations in court,” analyst Eliza Newlin Carney says in a Roll Call column that prominently mentions the Center for Political Accountability.
USA Today Column: Attacks Show U.S. Chamber, Allies Losing Secret Political Spending Fights
U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its lobbying
allies are losing in their defense of secret
political spending as more companies embrace
transparency, a recentUSAToday.com column by independent business writer
Darrell Delamaide declared.
Mentioning attacks by the Chamber and others against the Center for Political Accountability, Delamaide not only asked what defenders of secret political money “are … afraid of,” he also said a new business ethic favored by many companies is passing by the old guard.
Leading Law Firm Urges Companies to Treat CPA-Zicklin Index Seriously
Center for Political Accountability’s lead role
in advocating for corporate political
disclosure was spotlighted in a
guide issued by the
Covington & Burling law firm, entitled
“Responding to Corporate Political Disclosure
“CPA’s role as the major player in the political spending disclosure arena will continue to grow this year,” stated the “How-To Guide for In-House Counsel,” dated Jan. 14.
As 2015 Proxy Season Opens, Political Disclosure Tops 130 Companies
Four companies have adopted the Center for Political Accountability's model disclosure resolution in the start of the 2015 proxy season, bringing to 133 the number of public companies accepting the resolution.