The ruling that restored free speech to politics has the left in an uproar. But it will also test corporate mettle.
(Page 2 of 2)
But if large corporations may be reluctant to spend on political races, Big Labor is not. Labor unions also benefit from the Citizens United decision, and have historically been much more partisan in their political activity than has big business. The relatively small number of unions makes it easier for them to coordinate their activity. Add in the lack of any need to avoid offending a portion of their customer base, and unions are well positioned to take advantage of Citizens United. Indeed, within weeks of the Citizens United decision, three unions pledged to spend $1 million each to try to defeat U.S. senator Blanche Lincoln in the Democratic primary in Arkansas, finding her insufficiently dedicated to Big Labor’s agenda.
THUS, IF CITIZENS UNITED ultimately works to favor conservatives, it may be less due to the Fortune 500 than to the small business community. These small and mid-sized companies usually cannot afford the high administrative costs of maintaining a PAC, and often don’t have enough employees eligible for solicitation to make forming a PAC worthwhile in any case. Moreover, unlike Fortune 500 companies, small businesses typically do not maintain permanent large lobbying operations in Washington, and because they are less likely to be heavily regulated or engaged in government contracting, their contact with Washington is likely to be more sporadic. For these companies, the ability to speak directly to the public is potentially a great benefit.
This small business community is generally much more conservative in its politics than is the Fortune 500, and in particular much more hostile to government regulation. But these small companies are unlikely to undertake major campaigns on their own. Thus it may be up to trade associations and business groups, such as chambers of commerce, to organize business efforts.
Meanwhile, managers and executives, particularly of large, publicly traded companies, will need to do some serious rethinking about their obligations to shareholders. Do they have an obligation to their shareholders to try to maximize long-term value by opposing tax and spend, pro-regulatory politicians, and working to elect officials who appreciate pro-growth policies? Or do they play it safe, avoid political activity, and hope that the regulators will eat them last? The decisions they make may ultimately determine the real importance of Citizens United.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?