A Bill That Could Cripple Citizens United Is Being Considered In Four States


A crippling blow could be dealt to Citizens United as legislatures in four states are debating bills that would require shareholders to approve corporate political spending.

According to The Center For Public Integrity:

Lawmakers in at least four states are considering a back-door way to dampen corporate political spending: Require shareholders to approve it.

State legislators in Maine, Maryland, New York and New Jersey have introduced bills that demand that a majority of shareholders approve corporate gifts to political committees or candidates.


“The whole thesis of Citizens United is that the companies are just speaking for the shareholders,” said state Sen. Jamie Raskin, a Democrat who is sponsoring the bill in Maryland. “If this is going to be anything more than a cynical fiction, then state legislatures need to act to make it real.”

Raskin has received interest from a dozen legislators in other parts of the country who are interested in his bill. Huge corporations are big spenders in elections at all levels, but that all could change if corporations would have to get approval of their shareholders before they could spend a dime.

Currently, there is no accountability for corporate dark money political spending. Corporations can ignore their shareholders at will. If a corporation had to get approval from their shareholders before they spent millions of dollars on an election, the whole process would change.

Decision makers would have to justify their political spending. Shareholders would have to sign off on it. The whole process of getting shareholder approval would lead to information becoming public that mostly politically active corporations would not like their customers to know.

Details about the hidden dark money that big corporations don’t want their customers to know about would be exposed, and a backlash would be inevitable. Citizens United has allowed corporations to hide their Republican political advocacy through dark money contributions. Some of the nation’s biggest corporations have been funding Republican dark money efforts.

The bill being discussed in the states is a nifty backdoor effort to stop Citizens United. Shareholders deserve a say in how a company spends their money. The state level legislation doesn;t conflict with the Supreme Court’s decision, but it would have a damaging impact on the flow of corporate money into Republican campaign coffers.

18 Replies to “A Bill That Could Cripple Citizens United Is Being Considered In Four States”

  1. Why am I not surprised it’s the Blue States leading the charge? New Jersey can forget it while Christie is Governor.

  2. The only thing right now that will stop Citizens United is if the dumbass teabaggers realized they have been conned into sending them money for the purpose of electing conservatives but the grifters have been lining their own pockets with their money. But baggers who cant add 2+2 wont figure out the con game

  3. If a couple of states managed to get this plan in place, it would send a signal to ALL states and except for the deep red states, it could have a major effect. It’s true that the closely held money people would be exempt, but it would spread their dark money too thin to have the dominant effect it has now.

    Hats off to whoever figured this wrinkle out. Yup, shareholders are people too.

  4. Big corporate leaders actually being forced to abide by democratic principals? How much more un-American can you get. [wink]

  5. Dj….the tea baggers will never get it. The corporate republican machine loves them at election time, then laughs at them and leaves them the rest of the time. To get them riled up, the Repugs will play them using their coming for yer guns……old myth!

  6. It’s a start, but we really need to get money out of politics altogether. Money corrupts. Require media outlets to give a little free ad time to candidates to say what their platform is and the rest would be government funded as intended.

  7. Unions are required to keep their members informed of their funds used for political campaign contributions, unlike corporations who have no required reporting laws in place. I hope this clears up your question.

  8. YEP! the conservative Supreme Court ruled Corporations were people too, well they should then, have a say in where and how the money is spent…This may even hurt the Kocks. Who have more then one corporation. Now wouldn’t THAT be nice?

  9. You are aware that unions don’t conduct political activity with the general fund. That’s actually illegal. Or at least it was until Citizens United. Each union operates a separate PAC fund. For the Teamsters, that fund is known as DRIVE. Contributions are strictly voluntary and not part of the regular union dues. So, unlike stockholders, Teamsters get to decide whether or not their money is going to go to political action.

  10. While I hate Citizens United, the Koch Brothers, the Republican Party, any church, etc., it would be many years before any such legislation would impact corporate political spending.

    To begin with, there is a difference between a majority of stockholders and a majority of shareholders. If one person holds a 5% interest in a company would his vote count the same as one who holds .0001%?

    Secondly, there would likely be a constitutional battle that could take years to resolve. As I’m sure you will all agree, this would not be a case this Supreme Court would voluntarily decide to hear.

    Finally, who would be the overseers of such a law?

    This is a great idea in theory but sadly one which will never come to fruition. I like our President’s idea better; a constitutional amendment to throw out Citizens United altogether.

  11. Which is why I agree with the idea behind the action. The GOP will soon start to cry about the legality of the bills.

  12. “State legislators in Maine, Maryland, New York and New Jersey have introduced bills that demand that a majority of shareholders approve corporate gifts to political committees or candidates.”

    It makes sense. It’s the same rules they apply to political contributions by Unions. Of course, it won’t matter much to “Closely Held Corporations” like Hobby Lobby.

  13. This stands no chance of doing anything unless it passes in Delaware, New York, and maybe California. Corporations are almost all chartered in Delaware. They will simply claim the law does not apply to them unless Delaware passes it. I cannot imagine that happening. The big corporations own Delaware.

    New York is important because the Attorney General of New York is the only one willing to go up against the corporations it seems.

  14. Even if u say it will take forever to get it to work. There is one thing that will work. YOU CANNOT USE OUR MONEY UNTIL WE HAVE SETTLED THIS ISSUE ONE WAY OR THE OTHER. NOT ONE PENNY. PLUS WE want a full accounting of where you used and how you used and whose monies you laundered in the last election and we want it tomorrow morning. Every detail. If you do not comply we will kick you out and put the IRS on your ass immediately. If you are laundering funds for others while using our money w/o our permission we want every penny put back i. Our coffers by tomorrow at five pm. Because that was not hour money to use w/o our consent. And we will inform the govt that any money that was spent on any campaign must declare the winner of receiving stolen money and their seat
    In Congress must be taken as being held by a crook, this also makes the losers the winners. Automaticaly. Sinse that would have meant they ran unopposed, and anything passed by Congress will have to be rerun thru…

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