Saturday, January 30, 2010

Two Solutions to Corporate Speech

The debate over corporate speech continues, with lawmakers in the middle trying to find a constitutional way to limit corporate influence in government.

The first such proposal would require a corporation intent on political advocacy to first take a vote from their shareholders.
Representative MIKE CAPUANO (Democratic, Massachusetts): Quite simply, the shareholders, its their money and I think that anybody who is spending money should ask those people who own that money what their opinion is. If the shareholders choose to be involved in political action, thats fine. Apparently the court has said that is legal and thats okay with me. Thats all I want. I wouldnt want somebody reaching into my pocket and taking my money to be used for something I didnt want.

The second idea limits the speech of corporations who have, or want to have, government contracts.
A 2008 Government Accountability Office study found that almost three-quarters of the largest 100 publicly traded firms are federal contractors. If Congress endorsed our proposal, these companies -- and tens of thousands of others -- would face a stark choice: They could endorse candidates or do business with the government, but they couldn't do both. When push came to shove, it's likely that very few would be willing to pay such a high price for their "free speech."

These both seem pretty reasonable to me.

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