California Prop 32, the “Special Exemptions Act,” is not what it seemsBy Eddie Kurtz, Director of Campaigns, Courage Campaign
The corrupting effect of money in politics. is the root cause of everything that plagues our democracy. Most people agree, and if “campaign finance reform” is mentioned, they are board. And that’s why Prop 32, the Special Exemptions Act, is so terrifying.
As the L.A. Times said, it’s a “fraud to end all frauds.” If corporate oligarchs like the Koch Brothers have their way, it will soon be law in California, and progressive folks like you and me will have helped make it so. Every ad the Prop 32 campaign releases calls it “campaign finance reform” and talks about getting corporate money out of politics. This despite the fact that it would open the floodgates to MORE corporate spending and has been dubbed “Citizens United on steroids.”
Let me get technical with you. Prop 32 prohibits the collection of “political funds” from corporate employees and union members via payroll deduction. But guess what? Corporations hardly ever use payroll deductions for political purposes; they simply cut a check from their corporate treasuries. They don’t even need shareholder approval.
Unions on the other hand? Every penny they spend on politics comes from payroll deductions, which are just small-dollar contributions from folks like firefighters, nurses and teachers. These are pooled together to fight back against the power of millionaires and corporate CEOs.
Prop 32 is a deceptive attempt to silence the voices of the 2.5 million middle-class union members in California. Labor unions are the only organizations capable of mounting a fight against the corporations that dominate our political process, and even so, they are outspent 15-1. It gets worse: Prop 32 EXEMPTS common business structures such as LLCs, partnerships and real estate trusts. That’s why we call it the “Special Exemptions Act.”
This fraud would pave the way for Super PACs and corporate lobbyists to completely take over California. Radical anti-union laws like those at the center of the big fights in Wisconsin and Ohio would soon follow. Beyond our state, it would have national ramifications. California’s 2.5 million members represent almost a fifth of the total union membership in the country, so if they are silenced, labor will lose a huge chunk of its capacity for political work on the national level. That’s why the Kochs and their hordes are lining up to fund Prop 32.
Yours in the fight for a better California,
Eddie Kurtz, Director of Campaigns
Paid for by Courage Campaign Issues Committee.