Monday, January 25, 2010

Corporate Speak isn't 'Free Speech' ... it's 'Paid Speech'

Here's a copy of my lastest letter sent to the people who are supposed to represent 'me' in Washington:
I'm writing to you today because I'm extremely concerned about the recent deplorable decision by the SCOTUS which used 'constitutional rights of free speech' to grant 'corporations' the same rights of free speech as citizens, and placed no limits on spending from the general treasuries of any corporation to influence future elections in this country.


A corporation is not a 'citizen' ... it's a legal entity that does business in this country. And, that entity may or may not be a U.S. corporation, but a foreign-owned corporation with a political agenda not congruent with our own political phillosophies. How many workers of those entities would ardently support the political goals of the leaders of their organizations? How free are they to express their non-support of corporate political activities without fear of losing their employment? How free are those same employees not to participate in their corporation's political action committee for fear of reprisal, stagnation, or loss of employment?

 
Congress needs to take immediate action to quell the potential chaos that will be created by this horrendously awful decision by a court that has extended its activist reach to potentially corrupt our elective processes. If this decision is allowed to stand as is, we'll no longer have a government of the people, but a government crafted by corporate expenditures assuring only those sympathetic to their corporate issues are elected.

 
As you consider any legislation, I would ask that you ponder these concerns of just an ordinary citizen of this country:
  1. Are their political sponsorships/activities currently considered as an expense of doing business? If so, enact legislation that would disallow any expenses of this type to be considered as 'tax-deductible' expenses. Regular citizens who contribute to a candidate cannot deduct their contributions, corporations should not be allowed to deduct any such expenses either. Expenses considered should include ALL incurred expenses, including the pro-rata salary and overhead expenses of those employees whose time is devoted to promoting such efforts as well as ALL costs associated with engaging private contractors.
  2. Are lobbying expenses incurred by corporations currently considered as an expense of doing business? If so, enact legislatioin such that lobbying expenses are no longer considered as 'tax-deductible expenses.' As a citizen, I can't deduct any of my expenses to contact you via email, U.S. Mail, or personal visits to curry support for my position on any issue. Corporations should not be afforded any priviledges not afforded to ordinary citizens.
  3. As to the issue of transparency, new legislation should require chief executives to appear up front, before the presentation of any political advertisement, expressing their approval and support of the content of the advertisement. As a citizen, I want to know exectly who is besmirching the record of which politician and/or issue that I personally support.
  4. Can/will corporations that receive any type of federal monies be allowed to push their corporate political agenda? Well, excuse me, but I seriously object to that possibility. Those are my tax dollars and if they get my tax dollars, they shouldn't be able to promote their corporate political agenda, period. If a large number of people in Congress can argue that a woman can't have coverage that covers abortion because federal monies are involved, then corporations can't do political advertisement if government money/contracts are received by that corporation.

When a corporation speaks out on an issue, it's not 'free speech' ... it's 'paid speech!' The ruling by the SCOTUS last week does nothing for citizens. It's merely a delayed Christmas present to big business ... and not necessarily U.S. big businesses, but big businesses owned by foreign entities. As a citizen, I expect Congress to take aggressive action to remedy the court's fraud on future U.S. elections. According to the court, you can't 'ban' their communications, but that doesn't mean you can't tax it.

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