Proposition 32 on the California ballot is being presented as a reform to the campaign financing system to supposedly reduce the influence of special interest money on politics. The problem is that the solution being offered is partial, unbalanced and designed to favor corporations and be unfavorable to unions.
A case in point: The initiative would ban corporations and unions from making direct contributions to candidates, and exempt limited liability corporations (LLCs) and commercial trusts from the ban. As another example, the initiative also forbids using payroll deductions to make political contributions. This supposedly includes organized labor and corporations. But how often do corporations use payroll deductions to contribute to political campaigns? Seldom or never. However, this is the main way unions do fundraising, since they must get authorization in writing from members when they join the union to deduct those funds.
The ban would not affect donations to the so-called Super PACs either. After recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions, these special committees can receive unlimited amounts of money from corporations or unions, and some of the Super PACs don’t even need to reveal the sources. So far, the majority of the funds for these PACs originate in the corporate and financial world.
A fact about the ballot measure is that the majority of the donors to the campaign that supports it are big businesses, financiers and investment fund administrators, who will hardly support something that puts them at a disadvantage. Unions are providing most of the funds against the measure.
There is no doubt that the influence of money on politics must be reduced. But this ballot measure is not even the down payment on a serious reform.
Vote “No” on Proposition 32.