The Inland Empire Taxpayers Association is “strongly backing” a state ballot measure that its authors say “bans direct corporate and union contributions to legislators” and will “end corporation and union pay-for-play schemes that corrupt California’s political system.”
The Stop Special Interest Money Now Act has qualified for the November 2012 ballot. Its sponsors say the measure if approved would eliminate “nearly $20 million from corporations to legislative candidates and the millions more that went from corporate coffers to statewide candidates in 2010 would be completely cut off.”
“Unions and corporations are the puppet masters controlling much of the legislative policy and electoral outcomes in California — it is a broken system that benefits the few at the expense of the many,” said Chris Mann, of Banning, founder of the Inland Empire Taxpayers Association. “The Stop Special Interest Money Now Act takes power away from these billion-dollar entities and puts it back where it belongs — with the people of California. Year after year we hear about legislation authored by special interest groups and carried by legislators who were bought and paid for by those same groups. This isn’t how our legislative process should work and it’s why our state is broken — this measure gets to the heart of fixing that.”
“The grassroots-driven qualification of this measure underscores the fact that Californians are sick and tired of the dysfunction caused by the outsized influence special interests maintain over politicians in our state,” said former U.S. Secretary of State and longtime California resident George Shultz. “In recent years, California voters have started to take back their government by passing redistricting and other fundamental political reforms. This measure is the next step in the process. It minimizes the influence of the well funded few and empowers the nearly-silenced many.”
According maplight.org, 79 percent of campaign contributions made directly to politicians come from donors that live outside of the district that politician represents, the measure’s supporters said. “This kind of big money coming from corporations, unions, trade associations and other interests clearly influences the legislative process. For example, according to the San Jose Mercury News, in the 2007-2008 legislative year, 39 percent of bills were written not by legislators, but by special interest groups. Of those bills, 60 percent were passed into law, far higher than the 20 percent of bills not introduced by a special interest group that became law.
The proposal would:
1. Ban direct corporate and union contributions to legislators.
2. Prohibit government contractors from contributing money to government officials who award them contracts.
3. Prohibit corporations and labor unions from using payroll deductions to collect political funds from employees and union members. These funds can still be collected, but by another means, such as credit card debits or check. The measure maintains the rights of union members and employees of corporations to voluntarily give to any candidate or political campaign through employee or member-directed PACs, but it requires that the employee grant permission for their funds to be used for this purpose.