Independent Expenditures: How corporations hide the ball

We’ve been talking regularly about the ever-expanding role of money in politics and elections specifically. There is no question that the system needs reform so that legislators and political leaders get back to the job of governing on behalf of the people, not the big corporations who have bought out Washington D.C. (ala Jack Abramoff, et. al.) and have been insinuating themselves into the California process as well.
These big business groups have no interest in protecting the public; their only interest is in expanding their profits. They are even so bold as to say so. So why do we tolerate this kind of greedy exploitation of our people and our planet?

In most instances, their influence isn’t immediately known, especially in the electoral process. Although California has tried to clean this up a bit, by requiring disclosure of campaign contributions, there is still a big, gaping hole in the form of the Independent Expenditure committees. These are groups that come in, (usually within the last two weeks of a campaign) and dump enormous amounts of money into a few targeted races where they know they’ll be able to scam the public by hiding behind Orwellian names like Californians for Civil Justice Reform.
Most of these groups are merely fronts for big businesses, like big oil, tobacco and insurance companies, automobile manufacturers and dealers, HMOs and banks that know they can’t come out directly and identify themselves as contributors to one candidate or another. By the time the public learns just who these groups really are, the campaign is over, and the environment and we, the public, are often the losers.
At Speak Out California we are committed to following this money in the June primary for progressive voters. And the best place to start is in the 10th Senate District where an avowed “Business Dem,” John Dutra, is running against a true progressive, Ellen Corbett. This very same IE Committee, the so-called CItizens for Civil Justice Reform, has already started to smear Ms. Corbett (a former Assemblywoman). This group has committed to spending whatever it takes to defeat her in the primary. As of today, they’ve already plunked down over $230,000!
For more information about this stealth group’s activities and their funding sources in this race alone, go to:
There are a number of these groups and they’ve already dropped big bucks into the Senate races we’ve identified in our Voter Guide. We’ll have more to say about these IE Committees in the days ahead.