Business Magazine

Perspectives: How to Stop Pay-to-Play Politics

Posted on the 22 June 2011 by Blab

Business for Democracyby Shreya Barot, American Sustainable Business Council

The American democratic principles of “government of the people, by the people, for the people” are now being endangered by an overreaching Supreme Court ruling – Citizens United v. FEC. The Story of Citizens United, by the famous maker of The Story of Stuff, illustrates beautifully how the ruling enables corporations to spend unlimited money on public elections.

Many business leaders believe that citizens should be the lead participants in our government and that a few large corporations will use the decision to shift the political outcomes in their favor. There are a number of businesses and organizations that oppose Citizens United and are taking action to put an end to this corrupting challenge to our democracy.

The American Sustainable Business Council and Ben & Jerry, of ice cream fame, have launched the Business for Democracy Campaign. Business for Democracy is an initiative of business leaders who have joined forces to stop pay-to-play politics. The Campaign supports a constitutional amendment which would clarify that citizens, not corporations have Constitutional rights to speak in elections. There are countless small companies that do not benefit from the Citizens United decision because they can’t afford to make contributions or they prefer to use available funds to grow their business.

Benefit Corporations are part of creating a positive business community that works to meet higher standards of accountability and transparency. In addition, B Lab is part of a group of more than 100,000 businesses that make up the American Sustainable Business Council, which gives a voice to businesses working for a sustainable, just and equitable economy.

The American Sustainable `Business Council has joined with  grassroots and legal advocates  at Free Speech for People to overturn the Citizens United decision. By joining B Lab, Seventh Generation, Stonyfield Farm, and many others in expressing support for the Business for Democracy Campaign, you can help create a stronger political foundation on which to build a new economy. You can sign the ASBC Business for Democracy Campaign Statement of Support here and join Free Speech for People as a business leader here.

Shreya Barot is the Business for Democracy Intern at the American Sustainable Business Council. She is a senior at Rutgers University pursuing a major in Planning and Public Policy, and Communication.

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