So contributions to political campaigns, no matter how large, are ultimately about free speech, right? That, at least, was the reasoning in a groundbreaking Supreme Court decision earlier this year that said there was no real difference between contributions by corporations and those by individuals. Both were found to have a constitutional right to give to the candidates and causes of their choice.
It was a year ago today that the Supreme Court, in the Citizens United decision, gave corporation unlimited power to spend money in elections without disclosing who they are donating to.
Today, Brooklyn Senator Daniel Squadron and Queens Assemblyman Rory Lancman announced that they have reintroduced a bill that would require corporations that give money to Albany to obtain shareholder approval of any donations and would force the businesses to produce a business rationale for the the bill both to their shareholders and to New York's Secretary of State.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio Launches Web Campaign to Push For Rapid Passage of State Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblyman Rory Lancman’s “Corporate Political Accountability to Shareholders” Act
Bill Will Rein in Reckless Independent Expenditures in New York by Requiring Shareholders to Approve Corporate Political Spending and Forcing Companies to Disclose Expenditures, Including the Business Rationale For the Spending
By State Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblyman Rory Lancman
Much has been made of the lack of specific demands of the Occupy Wall Street protesters. But the themes underlying the protests are clear: accountability on Wall Street for the financial crisis that tanked the global economy; shared sacrifice as we pull ourselves out of an economic mess that the middle class and working poor didn't create; and a political system controlled by people, not corporations.
Posted by Amy Spitalnick on Thursday, December 8th, 2011
Following Bill's Passage, Squadron Asks Governor to Invest New York Works Infrastructure Fund in Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan
Squadron Applauds Passage of Programs He’s Long Championed: Summer Youth Employment, Career Pathways
ALBANY – Following the state legislature’s passage of legislation aimed at creating jobs and growing New York’s economy, State Senator Daniel Squadron asked Governor Cuomo to invest part of the New York Works Infrastructure Fund in key projects in the 25th Senate District: the rehabilitation of the Brooklyn Queens-Expressway (BQE), an incentive program for Lower Manhattan businesses to increase energy efficiency, and a new academic center at New York City College of Technology (City Tech).
Posted by Amy Spitalnick on Wednesday, January 4th, 2012
In his State of the State address, the Governor laid out a vision to build on the progress of the past year and continue to move New York forward. Two priorities in particular that he laid out - an end to the practice of fingerprinting food stamp recipients and reforming our campaign finance system - are ready for immediate passage.
Posted by Amy Spitalnick on Monday, March 5th, 2012
In Wake of GOP Committee Vote Against Campaign Finance Reform, Squadron Pushes Bill Forward with Petition for Chamber Consideration
Squadron-Lancman Legislation Would Make NY National Leader in Fight Against Citizens United
ALBANY – Today, State Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblyman Rory Lancman pushed back against Senate Republican efforts to stall their campaign finance reform legislation, with Senator Squadron initiating a petition for chamber consideration to move the bill forward. The legislation would make New York a national leader in the fight against the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision and give people, rather than corporations, a stronger voice in the political process.
The "Corporate Political Activity Accountability to Shareholders Act" (S101/A696A) would require shareholder approval for corporate political contributions, public disclosure of the contributions, and justification of the business rationale for making them.
This afternoon, the Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions Committee voted to prevent the legislation from moving out of committee. Senator Squadron has now begun circulating a petition for chamber consideration of the bill, which would bring the bill to the Senate floor if 38 signatures are collected from Senators.
“As we look on in horror at the impact of Citizens United, New York has an opportunity to actually do something about it. Yet today, the Senate Republicans chose corporate interests over the interests of real people,” said Senator Squadron. “Make no mistake: unlimited corporate contributions are a threat to our democratic process. By reining in unchecked political influence and bringing desperately-needed transparency to the process, our bill would be a key step toward countering the flood of corporate influence that washes away the voice of regular people. I urge my colleagues to stand up for people over corporations in our politics and join the effort to move this bill to the floor."
For too long, our politics have been drowned in a flood of corporate political spending that undermines the voices of real people.
And it's gotten worse: the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision has meant even more corporate cash is flooding into politics. New York must push back against these special interests by improving shareholder control and corporate disclosure.
Posted by Amy Spitalnick on Tuesday, May 1st, 2012
Resolution Urges Constitutional Amendment: Corporations Are Not Entitled to Same Rights as People
ALBANY – Today, State Senator Daniel Squadron announced that the Senate Republican leadership has blocked a floor debate on his resolution which states that corporations are not entitled to the same protections or rights as people when it comes to money in politics.
Posted by Amy Spitalnick on Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
Senator Also Applauds Governor's Push for Campaign Finance Reform, Decriminalization of Small Amounts of Marijuana, Minimum Wage Increase
ALBANY -- State Senator Daniel Squadron, the sponsor of legislation to close gaps in New York's assault weapons ban -- including by making illegal the military-style gun used in Newtown, CT and Webster, NY -- applauded Governor Cuomo's proposals to strengthen the state's gun laws, reform New York's campaign finance system, decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana in public view, and raise New York's minimum wage, in today's State of the State.