August 3, 2012

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse Calls For Divestment From Corporations That Funnel Dark Money Into Politics

A path forward for stopping corporate influence in elections?

As the campaign against the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has shown, sometimes the best way to tackle corporate influence in our politics is to name and shame corporations that are secretly financing front groups to manipulate our democracy. Dozens of corporations have left ALEC thanks to this tactic.

On a recent national call with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), leading campaign finance reformer Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) endorsed a version of this tactic to tackle dark money in our elections. He referenced the anti-Apartheid movement, which called for divestment from funds that supported South Africa, and suggested this tactic be adapted to target corporations manipulating the political process with their dollars:

WHITEHOUSE: I think we can work this a little bit the way we worked the Apartheid issue years ago, in which states began to say, ‘Look, we’re just not going to invest our money in countries that invest in South Africa and the support of Apartheid’ in the same way state treasurers and pension funds and investor groups across the country could say, ‘We’re just not going to put our money into companies that support this kind of dark money secret influence. If they need to get their work done this way, they’re probably up to no good, and we’re not going to put public money behind them.'”

 Listen to the full call here.