Now that the Supreme Court has paved the way for a billionaire tsunami of cash, most of which will benefit the Republican Party, we can look forward to full disclosure of the candidates and political causes that money is buying, right? After all, transparency is a good thing because it prevents corruption. Big donors won’t mind, because some companies voluntarily disclose their political activities.
It’s a great marketing ploy because it gives the appearance that the corporation is willing to be upfront with its shareholders and customers. The best part for corporations is they can cherry pick which of their political donations will help promote the brand, while keeping those that might offend customers or and alienate shareholders under wraps.
If, however, the objective of such disclosures is transparency, then voluntary disclosure isn’t working very well simply because the disclosure tends to be selective.
Obviously people want to know, and have a right to know, what their investments are buying and what causes they are being associated with as shareholders. Also, consumers should have a right to decide for themselves if they want to buy products from companies that use their revenues to reduce their customers’ purchasing power, promote discrimination or reduce women to little more than chattel of their husband/masters.
The CREW study reviewed 60 companies. Microsoft, Pfizer and Prudential were among them. In short, CREW found that under voluntary disclosure, many of the companies disclosures didn’t jive with the tax filing of 527 organizations.
Here are some of CREW’s key findings as stated in the Executive Summary.
- For 25 of the 60 companies included in the study, there were significant discrepancies between companies’ reports and the 527 organizations’ tax forms
- 527 organizations reported receiving contributions from 20 companies that failed to disclose those contributions despite either having claimed to disclose such contributions or having claimed not to make such contributions at all.
- The discrepancies between the amounts companies voluntarily disclosed contributing and the amounts 527 organizations reported receiving to the IRS totaled more than $3.1 million between 2011 and 2013.
You really should check out this eye opening report.
Obviously, corporations that have a liberal brand don’t want their conservative causes outed.
Corporate conservatives realize that policies designed to maintain a social order in which white men are kings with everyone else as their unwilling subjects are unpopular in 21st century America. Disclosure of their financial backing for such policies could hurt their bottom line and thus retard their ability to finance policies that reduce women to arm candy and birthing machines, and the “undeserving” struggling for survival in poverty wage jobs.
So what does the whine percent do now that their money can be a political tsunami? In short, they want secrecy in the name of protecting corporate conservatives from Americans making their purchases from businesses that aren’t trying to reduce their purchasing power.
Naturally, they want to have their political tsunami and secrecy too, unless of course cherry picked disclosures can improve the bottom line As Paul Waldman pointed out, conservatives will couch it in the paranoia that works so well for them.
Here’s a sign of what’s to come. Charles Krauthammer, the most influential conservative pundit in America, has published a broadside against campaign disclosure, in which he says he used to favor the combination of no limits on contributions and full information on who’s donating. “This used to be my position,” Krauthammer says. ”No longer. I had not foreseen how donor lists would be used not to ferret out corruption but to pursue and persecute citizens with contrary views. Which corrupts the very idea of full disclosure.
Naturally, Krauthammer is banking on people believing Darrell Issa’s failed attempt to prove the IRS is doing this already despite silly things like facts and evidence that disprove Issa’s claims. It’s a more saleable argument than admitting that full disclosure might hurt the bottom line and with it the corporate conservative clique’s ability to impose its agenda on an unwilling populous. It also means they hope to keep the inevitable corruption that comes with secret and unlimited influence pedaling in the closet.
Ms. Woodbury has a graduate degree in political science, with a minor in law. She is a qualified expert on political theory with a specific interest in the nexus between political theories and models and human rights.
Based on her interest in human rights and the threats that authoritarian regimes are to them, Ms. Woodbury’s masters thesis examined the influence of politics on the enforcement of international criminal law was cited in several academic studies.
Published work includes case summaries for the War Crimes Research Office.
She has an extensive background doing legal research in international and domestic law.
Ms. Woodbury’s work for politicusUSA includes articles on voting rights, the right to asylum and other civil/human rights.