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Corporate Power

Lobbying Reform

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  1. Business
  2. Business Ethics
  3. Democracy and Media
  4. Election Reform
  1. Campaign Contributions and Voting Records (Ewall)
      Provides sources of information to check the relationship between voting records of legislators and corporate contributions. 7-02

  2. Corporate Control of Mass Media ( - Media Reform Information Center)
      Contends that six corporations control almost all of the mass media in the USA. 7-02

  3. Corporate Values Versus Public Interest (
      Provides articles on corporate power and how it affects citizens in the USA. 7-02

  4. Corporate Welfare (
      " 'The $150 billion for corporate subsidies and tax benefits eclipses the annual budget deficit of $130 billion. It's more than the $145 billion paid out annually for the core programs of the social welfare state: Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), student aid, housing, food and nutrition, and all direct public assistance (excluding Social Security and medical care).' " 7-02

  5. Globalization Issues (Awesome Library)
      Provides sources that discuss the pros and cons of globalization and "Americanization." 8-02

  1. -Editorial: Are Corporations Pursuing Profits or Power? (NBC News)
      "Do corporations seek to maximize profits? Or do they seek to maximize power? The two may be complementary—wealth begets power, power begets wealth—but they’re not the same. One important difference is that profits can come from an expanding economic 'pie,' whereas the size of the power pie is fixed. Power is a zero-sum game: more for me means less for you. And for corporations, the pursuit of power sometimes trumps the pursuit of profits."

      "Take public education, for example. Greater investment in education from pre-school through college could increase the overall pie of well-being. But it would narrow the educational advantage of the corporate oligarchs and their privately schooled children—and diminish the power that comes with it. Although corporations could benefit from the bigger pie produced by a better-educated labor force, there’s a tension between what’s good for business and what’s good for the business elite."

      "Similarly, the business elite today supports economic austerity instead of full-employment policies that would increase growth and profits. This may have something to do with the fact that austerity widens inequality, while full employment would narrow it (by empowering workers)."

      "Recognizing the real-world pursuit of power not only helps us understand behavior that otherwise may seem peculiar. It also redirects our attention from the dichotomy between the market and the state toward a more fundamental one: the divide between oligarchy and democracy." 08-13

  2. -Editorial: Supreme Court Backs More Corporate Political Spending (MSNBC News)
      "In a landmark ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday struck down laws that banned corporations from using their own money to support or oppose candidates for public office."

      "By 5-4 vote, the court overturned federal laws, in effect for decades, that prevented corporations from using their profits to buy political campaign ads. The decision, which almost certainly will also allow labor unions to participate more freely in campaigns, threatens similar limits imposed by 24 states." 01-10

  3. -Editorial: Supreme Court Backs More Corporate Political Spending (
      "The Supreme Court on Thursday opened wide new avenues for big-moneyed interests to pour money into politics in a decision that could have a major influence on the 2010 midterm elections and President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign."

      "The long-awaited 5-4 decision overruled all or parts of two prior rulings by the court that allowed governments to restrict corporations and unions from spending their general funds on ads expressly urging a candidate’s election or defeat." 01-10

  4. Corporate Charters - Limitations of the Past (Grossman and Adams)
      "Many colonial citizens argued that under the Constitution, no business could be granted special privileges. Others worded that once incorporators amassed wealth, they would use their corporate shields to control jobs and production, buy off the press and dominate elections and the courts." However, in 1886 the U.S. Supreme Court granted corporations the same rights and protections as individual persons.

      "Within just a few decades, appointed judges had redefined the 'common good' to mean the corporate use of humans and the Earth for maximum production and profit -- no matter what was manufactured, who was hurt or what was destroyed. Corporations had obtained control over resources, production, commerce, jobs, politicians, judges and the law. Workers, citizens, cities, towns, states and nature were left with fewer and fewer rights that corporations were forced to respect."

      "By rewriting the [state] laws governing corporations, we citizens can reassert the convictions of the people who struggled to resist corporate rule in the past." 7-02

  5. Corporate Charters - Revoking Plutocracy (Grossman and Adams)
      Suggests eleven actions for ending the rule of corporations over democratic processes. 7-02

  6. Democracy and Political Contributions of Corporations (
      Provides news and articles relating political influence to donations to political candidates. 2-03

  7. Granting Corporations Personhood (Grossman and Adams)
      Discusses the U.S. Supreme Court decision of 1886, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, that first granted corporations the same rights as an individual citizen. The Supreme Court stated that:

      "The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of opinion that it does."

      "Thus it was that a two-sentence assertion by a single judge elevated corporations to the status of persons under the law, prepared the way for the rise of global corporate rule, and thereby changed the course of history." 7-02

  8. Half of Clinton Aides Now Lobbyists (ABC News)
      "A study being released Monday by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan watchdog group, ranked the top 100 officials serving when President Clinton left office two years ago and found 51 now lobby the government or work for companies that do." 3-03

  9. Phone Numbers for Human Responses from Corporations (
      Provides phone numbers for getting a human response when calling certain large corporations. 08-11

  10. SEC Chairman, Harvey Pitt, Resigns (CNN)
      "Embattled Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Harvey Pitt, under fire for not taking a strong enough stand on cleaning up corporate accounting problems, has resigned." 10-02

  11. Silent Takeover - A Review ( - Bollen)
      "Did you know that of the world's largest economies, 51 are now corporations and only 49 are nation-states? You do now." 6-02

  12. Wall Street Reform and Eliot Spitzer (PBS - NOW with Bill Moyers)
      "In the role as guardians of the public interest, several attorney generals are responsible for the massive tobacco awards now propping up state coffers. And, just last year, New York's Attorney General Eliot Spitzer filed, and won, a landmark suit against several large Wall Street firms accused of corporate malfeasance." 12-03

  13. What Corporate Money Buys in Government (PBS NOW - Moyers)
      "On March 2002 the U.S. Senate passed the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, commonly known as the McCain-Feingold Bill. It's the biggest reform of the nation's campaign finance system since the days of Watergate. Its highlight: a total ban on the large, unregulated donations to the national Republican and Democratic parties known as soft money." Some have sued to stop this legislation and this has, in turn, revealed immense corporate power in government, purchased by corporations.

      "Internal documents from the Republican and Democratic parties — including personal letters and emails which show party officials routinely discussing policy issues and offering access to elected officials in obtaining large contributions. About 100 pages of those documents have been released so far. Many more remain secret because of the objections of some of those named in the case. But even the few that are available have been enough to cause a stir." 2-02

Purchase Resources
  1. Wealth and Democracy ( - Phillips)
      Provides a controversial book which warns against too much concentration of wealth in a few, resulting in corruption of the democratic process. According to reviewer, McNamee, "Most American conservatives take it as an article of faith that the less governmental involvement in affairs of the market and pocketbook the better. The rich do not, whatever they might say--for much of their wealth comes from the 'power and preferment of government.' So writes Kevin Phillips, the accomplished historian and one-time Washington insider, in this extraordinary survey of plutocracy, excess, and reform." 7-02


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