Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction. Contribution to Candidates. Initiative Statue.
Prohibits unions from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. Applies same use prohibition to payroll deductions, if any, by corporations or government contractors. Prohibits union and corporate contributions to candidates and their committees. Prohibits government contractor contributions to elected officers or their committees.
All you hardcore Republicans go get your best bat to hit me up the side of my head. Go ahead, we’ll wait for you.
At first glance, Prop 32 looks like a fair statute that would prevent money from both unions and corporations from unduly influencing candidates in California elections. Like most propositions, one must look past the title to see what the real issue is. And, when you look under the cover of Prop 32, you find something stinks.
The first thing you might want to look at is who is behind each side. In this case, the lineup is fairly clear. Corporations and Billionaire Republicans are desperate for a measure that would limit the influence of public and private employee unions in the political arena. That is primarily because unions tend to back platforms supporting working class families and Democractic candidates that hold the majority in the legislature.
Two previous attempts at what proponents dubbed, “Paycheck Protection” have failed miserably, mostly due to the innate unfairness of the proposals to address corporate influence. The most recent version, however, installs what Chris Prevatt at the Liberal OC calls a Trojan Horse. Under the guise of campaign finance reform, the proposition would actually create special exemptions for corporations allowing them to continue to contribute as much as they want to candidates of their choice while effectively silencing the majority of working class men and women. From Chris’ article:
Prop 32 exempts thousands of big businesses, which aren’t technically “corporations,” but rather “LLCs” or “real-estate trusts” or any other form of business structure. This includes hedge funds, big Wall Street firms, insurance companies, and thousands of other business entities.
It also exempts secretive Super PACs, which can raise unlimited amounts of money from corporate special interests and billionaire businessmen to support their candidates or defeat their enemies and does nothing to prevent anonymous donors from spending unlimited amounts to influence elections.
The truth is that 99% of California corporations don’t use payroll deductions for political giving, and they would still be allowed to use their profits to influence elections. That’s why corporations spend 15-times as much as unions spend on political contributions, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Unions, on the other hand, use payroll deductions to collect a portion of dues money for political purposes. This is an accepted and practical way for unions to collect the funding needed to compete with the better-funded corporate special interests.
So, while Prop 32 specifically prohibits both unions and corporations from using employee money for political contributions, it would also inhibit unions from using money that is already voluntarily given by its members to use for that purpose because, even if written permission is given, the money cannot be deducted through payroll deduction. And, as Chris points out in his article, nearly every union member, including public employee unions, are allowed to opt out of political contributions. So, this proposition adds nothing new to the argument.
Nick Berardino, general manager of the largest public employees union in Orange County, has said:
This is not reform. It is nothing more than an attempt to rewrite campaign rules to give special exemptions to billionaire businessmen. Even worse, it singles out working men and women, cutting out working people from the political process while giving corporate interests an unfair advantage.
Among those opposing this proposition are the California Clean Money Campaign, LA/OC Building and Constructions Trades Council, and the League of Women Voters. Supporters of 32 include, National Federation of Independent Business-Caifornia, Howard Jarvis Taxapayers Association and Citizens for California Reform. Major newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times, the Sacramento Bee and the Fresno Bee have published editorials recommending a “no” vote on 32.
There are also a number of wealthy individuals who are running a shadow campaign against the measure. This group includes our own billionair real estate mogul, George Argyros as well as super PAC billionaire, Charles Munger, jr. That should give you a good idea of how the proponents of Prop 32 would like to see things: silence the working class while allowing business carte blanche over political influence and affairs.
Millions of dollars are being spent on the “Yes on 32″ campaign with lots more money coming in over the last few weeks of the election cycle, demonstrating that this is a serious fight. They have shown multiple commercials with so-called, “working class” folks who support this measure. I can only think they are corporate shills or they are grossly misinformed as to the imbalance of this proposition. Regardless of whether you belong to a union or not, the ideal of fair campaign political reform cannot be found in this one-sided propostion. Send this back to the drawing board by voting “no” on Proposition 32.
We’ll leave you with this video on the reality of Prop 32