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Citizens United v FEC: Public Health & Democracy Bill Wiist Professor, Health Sciences Sr. Citizens United v FEC: Public Health & Democracy Bill Wiist Professor, Health Sciences Sr. Scientist, Interdisciplinary Health Policy Institute Northern Arizona University Presented at the Left Forum Pace University, NYC March 19, 2011 1

Public Health & Corporations Research knowledge • Lead industry • Tobacco industry • Asbestos Public Health & Corporations Research knowledge • Lead industry • Tobacco industry • Asbestos • Food and beverage Advocacy • Automobile safety • Child health • Healthcare reform • Firearm related injury APHA Policies Corporate tactics Corporate or industry specific 2

Citizens United v FEC A not-for-profit organization with contributions from for-profit groups Produced film Citizens United v FEC A not-for-profit organization with contributions from for-profit groups Produced film critical of 2008 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton • • “documentary” for on-demand satellite video to advertise on cable & network broadcast TV to broadcast within 30 days of primary election Citizens funders United did not want to disclose 3

U. S. Supreme Court January 21, 2010 • FEC regulations & PAC procedures • U. S. Supreme Court January 21, 2010 • FEC regulations & PAC procedures • Burdensome: restrain political speech • Overturned earlier laws and Court rulings • 1907 -2002 • Previous prohibitions on corporate independent expenditures: • a ban on free speech • silence particular “voices” • Disclosure requirements retained 4

Outcome Unlimited -- • Corporate independent expenditures • Directly from corporate treasury • For Outcome Unlimited -- • Corporate independent expenditures • Directly from corporate treasury • For political advocacy advertising 5

Majority’s Arguments No corporate disproportionate influence Corporate irrelevant Unions natural personhood have same rights Majority’s Arguments No corporate disproportionate influence Corporate irrelevant Unions natural personhood have same rights Contributions influence Corporate not a corrupting lobbying already exists 6

Implications for Public Health Issues: • • • examples worker rights environmental health & Implications for Public Health Issues: • • • examples worker rights environmental health & sustainability occupational safety & health access to reproductive services tobacco control alcohol regulation school health education motor vehicle safety firearms pharmaceuticals and medical devices health care reform Opposition---corporations 7

Implications for Democracy Money in politics Candidate Vulnerability • District with corporation • Incumbent Implications for Democracy Money in politics Candidate Vulnerability • District with corporation • Incumbent voting record Appointments Judges to regulatory agencies Disproportionate corporate influence Human citizen participation 8

Election 2010 More money spent • $4 billion in 2010 mid-term Less reporting of Election 2010 More money spent • $4 billion in 2010 mid-term Less reporting of sources Lax government oversight 9

November 2010 Election 2010 election cycle spending by outside groups: $294. 2 million vs November 2010 Election 2010 election cycle spending by outside groups: $294. 2 million vs $68. 9 million in the 2006 cycle; 427% increase ~1/2 money spent ($138. 5 million, or 47. 1%) came from 10 groups Public Citizen, January 2011 10

Top 10 Spending Outside Groups, 2010 Election Cycle Group Amount Spent Disclosed U. S. Top 10 Spending Outside Groups, 2010 Election Cycle Group Amount Spent Disclosed U. S. Chamber of Commerce American Crossroads American Action Network Inc. Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strats. American Future Fund Americans For Job Security SEIU COPE Amer Fed. St, Cnty & Mun Employees 60 Plus Association NRA America Political Victory Fund $31, 207, 114 $21, 553, 277 $20, 935, 958 $16, 660, 986 $9, 610, 700 $9, 005, 422 $8, 340, 028 $7, 378, 120 $7, 096, 125 $6, 702, 664 N Y N N Y Total $138, 490, 394 Public Citizen, January 2011 11

Results Cont’d 53. 9% of 308 groups provided information about their sources of money Results Cont’d 53. 9% of 308 groups provided information about their sources of money Groups that did not provide any information about their sources of money spent: • 46. 1% the total spent by outside groups during the election cycle. Public Citizen, January 2011 12

Power Shift 60 of 75 congressional contests with partisan power change: • outside group Power Shift 60 of 75 congressional contests with partisan power change: • outside group spending favored the winning candidates • In Senate contests: 7 -to-1 money advantage $85 million spent linked to the Citizens United ruling $40 million from anonymous donors Public Citizen, January 2011 13

Extension of Ruling’s Effects U. S. House of Representatives • voted 239 -160 (January Extension of Ruling’s Effects U. S. House of Representatives • voted 239 -160 (January 2011) to eliminate public financing for presidential election Laws effectively invalidated in 24 states • Including challenges to disclosure laws Increased Lobbyist influence FEC: considers donation by cell phone U. S. Representative asked business for wish list Former Representative used in appeal of sentence 14

Proposals Add a 28 th amendment to the U. S. Constitution: • Political speech Proposals Add a 28 th amendment to the U. S. Constitution: • Political speech • Personhood Fair Elections Now Act Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act (DISCLOSE Act) Shareholder Protection Act 15

Other Legislative Proposals Equal amounts of free broadcast time, Ban political advertising if receive Other Legislative Proposals Equal amounts of free broadcast time, Ban political advertising if receive government money, hire lobbyists, collect most $ abroad, Excise tax on contributions & expenditures, Prohibit trading stock on national exchanges, SEC disclosure of contributions, Limit spending by foreign owned & contractors, Rules against coordination 16

Other Tactics State Laws • 16 passed laws City Ordinances & Resolutions • Pittsburgh, Other Tactics State Laws • 16 passed laws City Ordinances & Resolutions • Pittsburgh, PA Investigate Supreme Court Justices’ COI • Impeach 17

Varied Counter Activities ¾ million people signed petitions supporting C Amend, 100 events for Varied Counter Activities ¾ million people signed petitions supporting C Amend, 100 events for January 21, 2011 anniversary, 8 U. S. Senators, 40+ Representatives endorse CAmend Business coalition group formed Local Chambers of Commerce withdraw Shareholder resolutions Bill to prohibit free university football tickets Marry a corporation Individuals incorporate Public Citizen, Money and Democracy, Jan. 27, 2011; Dec. 2010 18

Public Opinion 86%---big companies have too much power & influence in W, DC 38%---corporations Public Opinion 86%---big companies have too much power & influence in W, DC 38%---corporations fairly balance profits and the public interest 40%---too much power is concentrated in the hands of big companies 78%--- limit amount corporations contribute to influence elections 61%---Congress has done too little to regulate corporations 75%---corporations should obtain shareholder approval 73%---Congress should be able to limit corporate spending to influence elections 19

Mobilizing Organizations Public Citizen Move To Amend Free Speech for People Progressive Democrats of Mobilizing Organizations Public Citizen Move To Amend Free Speech for People Progressive Democrats of America Progressives United Coffee Party 20

Public Health Reframe & Refocus Curriculum revision Research • Election funding and PH policy Public Health Reframe & Refocus Curriculum revision Research • Election funding and PH policy • Lobbying & PH policy • Revolving door & PH policy APHA Policy Collaborate Policy development Advocate 21

Conclusions Large and immediate effect Threat to public health policy Threat to democracy Fundamental Conclusions Large and immediate effect Threat to public health policy Threat to democracy Fundamental across issues PH research & training needed Large, effective citizen movement 22

Author Related Publications Wiist, W. H. (March 17, 2011) Citizens United, public health and Author Related Publications Wiist, W. H. (March 17, 2011) Citizens United, public health and democracy: The Supreme Court ruling, its implications, and proposed action. Amer J Public Health DOI 10. 2105/AJPH. 2010. 300043 Brezis, M. & Wiist, W. H. (2011). Vulnerability of health to market forces. Medical Care, 49(3): 232 -239. Wiist, W. H. (Ed) (2010). The Bottom Line or Public Health: Tactics Corporations Use to Influence Health and Health Policy, and What We Can Do To Counter Them; NY: Oxford University Press. Wiist, W. H. (2006). Public health and the anticorporate movement: Rationale and recommendations. Amer J Public Health, 96 (8), 1370 -1375. 23

Resources Election Campaign Donation Information Center for Responsive Politics http: //www. opensecrets. org/ Follow Resources Election Campaign Donation Information Center for Responsive Politics http: //www. opensecrets. org/ Follow the Money in State Politics http: //www. followthemoney. org/ Action Public Citizen http: //democracyisforpeople. org/ Move to Amend http: //movetoamend. org/? gclid=CNXOur. Ck 06 MCFQs. Sb. Aod. En 3 Rb. A Free Speech for People http: //freespeechforpeople. org/ Amend to Suspend http: //pdamerica. org/iotpage. php? page=Clean, %20 Fair, %20 Tra nsparent%20 Elections 24

Selected References Corso RA. Very Large Majorities Of Americans Believe Big Companies, PACs, Political Selected References Corso RA. Very Large Majorities Of Americans Believe Big Companies, PACs, Political Lobbyists and the News Media Have Too Much Power and Influence in D. C. The Harris Poll #26, The Harris Poll, Harris Interactive; March 11, 2008. Available at http: //www. harrisinteractive. com/vault/Harris-Interactive-Poll-Research-Very. Large-Majorities-Of-Americans-Believe-Big-Com-2008 -03. pdf. Accessed March 30, 2010. Pew Research Center for People and the Press. The 2004 Political Landscape. Part 7. Business, Government, Regulation and Labor. November 5, 2003. Available at http: //people-press. org/report/? pageid=756. Accessed April 6, 2010. Public Citizen Congress Watch (January 2011). 12 Months After: The Effects of Citizens United on Elections and the Integrity of the Legislative Process. Washington, DC: Public Citizen, Money and Democracy, Jan. 27, 2011; Dec. 2010 Survey. USA. Results of Survey. USA News Poll #16270. Americans Broadly in Favor of Limiting What Corporations Can Spend to Influence U. S. Elections. (February 10, 2010). Available at http: //www. surveyusa. com/client/Poll. Print. aspx? g=05 cabb 5 f 599 f-47 a 8 -98 fb-e 3 e 254 e 425 e 4&d=0. Accessed March 30, 2010. 25