Thursday, January 16, 2014

TPP, Dark Money and Anti-Worker Politicians

Corporations have been influencing U.S. politics for decades, allowing them to decimate the American work force --- busting labor unions, passing bad trade agreements, offshoring jobs, stagnating wages, displacing workers with H-1B visas, and weakening the labor laws.

These corporations also bribe politicians to skew the tax code in their favor.

Both political parties have been beholden to these corporations. The TPP trade agreement is on the verge of being fast-tacked by Obama. Ed Schultz has been on MSNBC blasting Obama for the last two days.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling in 2010, scores of blue-chip U.S. companies quietly bankrolled politically active nonprofits to the tune of at least $185 million in roughly a single year, according to a new Center for Public Integrity investigation.

Ranking among the biggest donors are energy giant Exelon Corp., health insurer WellPoint Inc. and technology titan Microsoft Corp. The millions of dollars in corporate expenditures flowed to more than 1,000 politically active nonprofits, from major trade associations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to pro-business alliances such as the Fix the Debt Coalition.

Dow Chemical Co. steered $2 million to a Michigan “dark money” to nonprofits in 2012 whose ads helped defeat a union-backed ballot measure aimed at protecting collective bargaining rights. Several of these politically active nonprofits received donations from companies including health insurer Aetna Inc., Johnson & Johnson and cigarette maker Reynolds American Inc.

Dow Chemical — one of the largest companies in Michigan — gave $2 million to the Michigan Alliance for Business Growth in 2012 and another $611,700 to the Michigan Chamber.

With this new database, users can search by company or by nonprofit beneficiary if they are interested in trade associations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers or the Business Roundtable -- you’ll be able see how much money they received from the major companies that reported their giving.

The same goes for certain think tanks and foundations, such as Third Way, the Republican Main Street Partnership, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and the Heritage Foundation.

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