Uncategorized — March 19, 2012 at 7:06 am

Michigan Corporate Accountability Amendment effort postpones until 2014


Stay tuned…

Earlier this month, I wrote about an effort being spearheaded by Jocelyn Benson to put a constitutional amendment up for vote in November called the Corporate Accountability Amendment. The amendment would bring a level of transparency to our state’s elections that is sorely needed:

Michigan has some of the weakest lobbying and ethics laws in the country, with no disclosure requirements for the tens of millions of corporate dollars spent to influence our elections and elected officials.

The Corporate Accountability Amendment has two main goals:

  1. Disclosure: Ensuring citizens know when CEOs and lobbyist are influencing elections and public policy by requiring instant disclosure of Corporate Funded Political Communications and Lobbying in Michigan.
  2. Disclaimer: Ensuring large corporations and CEOs “Stand By Their Ad” by requiring them to identify who funded the political and lobbying communications on the ads themselves, just like candidates for office and unions have to do right now.

Pay-to-play politics is out of control when wealthy corporate interests can elect their preferred candidates and get special favors and tax breaks. This grassroots initiative takes the first step for us as citizens to address the lack of disclosure for corporate political activity.

The group has decided to postpone this effort until 2014:

A Michigan group has decided to postpone its efforts to get a measure on the November ballot that would require far more disclosure of corporate donations to special interest groups, organizers told The Associated Press on Sunday.

The Corporate Accountability Amendment would force businesses and other groups that receive corporate donations to reveal donors’ names when the money is spent on political activity, campaign co-chairwoman Jocelyn Benson said. To help build more support, the group has decided to push for the constitutional amendment in 2014 instead of this year.

She said the group plans town hall meetings around the state to inform voters of what the proposed amendment would do.

“It’s critical that we build our coalition, broaden our coalition, get more voices involved,” Benson said. “We want to make sure this is the best possible amendment we could have … it was really important to me not to rush the process to get this on the ballot this fall.”

Considering the plethora of items that are sure to be on our ballot in November, I’m actually a bit relieved by this. I think it’s an important effort and should have a chance to stand alone without the confusion of a gubernatorial recall, a constitutional amendment to protect collective bargaining, the repeal of Public Act 4 and, of course, the election of a president, a new Senator, some new state senators, all of our state representatives, all of the members of Congress and, of course, all of the local elections.