Ralph Nader: The Case Against Corporate Speech

In an Op-Ed piece for the Wall Street Journal, Ralph Nader writes:

The disparities between individual contributions and available corporate dollars mock any pretense of equal justice under the law. A total of $5.2 billion from all sources was spent in the 2008 federal election cycle (which includes 2007 and 2008), according to the Center for Responsive Politics. For the same two-year period, ExxonMobil’s profits were $85 billion. The top-selling drug, Pfizer’s Lipitor, grossed $27 billion in sales during that time.

Such disparities invite corporations to spend whatever they believe necessary to further entrench the corporate state. The money they now spend will be used to reward friends and punish opponents…

While the arduous amendment process is underway, the progressive response to Citizens United rests with several legislative and administrative initiatives.

First, the Fair Elections Now Act in the House and Senate would provide candidates a base of funding to run viable campaigns without being indentured to corporate money. But these bills would not prevent corporations from overwhelming the public funding.

Second, a strong shareholder-protection policy should limit corporate political spending. This would require executives to get support from an absolute majority of their shareholders before spending any money on politics.

Third, as the nation’s largest customer, the government could refuse, by statute or executive order, to contract with or provide subsidies, handouts and bailouts to any company that spends money directly in the electoral arena. This would help avoid corruption. No longer would Citigroup or General Motors, which were saved by taxpayers and are wards of Washington, be able to lobby as if they were stalwarts of sink-or-swim free enterprise.

2 thoughts on “Ralph Nader: The Case Against Corporate Speech

  1. mscrib

    So Nader’s for film censorship and restrictions on taxpayer political speech (for-profit incorporated entities are still taxed, right?). What else is new from the authoritarian left?

  2. Brian Holtz

    In the same two-year period, alcohol consumers spent about $180 billion on booze, compared to the $5 billion spent on the 2008 federal election cycle.

    Clearly, we need to ban spending on political speech by alcohol consumers, or else our nation’s policies will soon seem like they are designed by drunks for drunks.

    Oh wait….

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