Nearly 90 percent of Americans think that there is too much corporate money in politics. With numbers like that, you would think it would be easy to pass legislation to roll back Citizens United and end the flood of out-of-control corporate spending that has poisoned our elections. That has been far from the case. Just this fall, Senate Republicans blocked an attempt to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens decision.
In the face of this federal inaction, Maryland could pass an exemplary bill next year that would make a real difference. This January, State Senator Jamie Raskin will introduce the Shareholders United Act, legislation that would require corporations to post all political contributions on their websites within forty-eight hours and would forbid corporations from spending on political campaigns and candidates unless they are able to prove that the contribution reflects the “majority will” of their shareholders. Crucially, if the majority of the corporation’s shares are held by institutional investors that cannot take political positions—this includes pension and retirement funds, insurance companies, universities and non-profits—that corporation would be forbidden from donating to political campaigns. Because the majority of shares of Fortune 500 companies are owned by institutional investors, this provision would seriously hamper the ability of corporations to disproportionately influence popular elections.
Join our campaign with RootsAction and Free Speech for People and call on your state lawmakers to pass their own Shareholders United Act.
In The Washington Post, Raskin breaks down his reasoning for introducing the Shareholders United Act and explains his plans for the bill in Maryland.
Early this year, Move to Amend, an organization that fights for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, released their mini-documentary, Legalize Democracy, about the history of the movement and its importance. Watch the trailer and then find the full movie on YouTube.