A first step in limiting Citizens United?

by Ross Keogh

I received an email from State Senate Candidate Tyler Gernant today that contained one of the more substantive policy proposals that I have seen this primary season. I wanted to share it, as I think it deserves broader attention as a practical and initial legislative solution to corporate influence in our political process. In his words:

“So I’m proposing a simple solution until Citizens United is overturned. First, require all corporations that wish to influence our elections to register to become eligible to electioneer. Second, electioneering corporations must publicly disclose their shareholders list, which they are already required to keep by law. Finally, no corporation registered to electioneer would be permitted to receive state contracts or favorable benefits from the state. We shouldn’t be using taxpayer dollars to fund corporate campaigns so they can just get more of our tax dollars.”

While we wait for grass roots permanent solutions, like Stand With Montanans to Mature, Tyler’s suggestions would seem to start the ball rolling in limiting corporate power over our elections.

  1. evdebs

    A nice thought, but I can’t imagine that it will pass constitutional muster.

    Yesterday, the Kansas Tea Party legislature passed a bill virtually exempting S corporations and LLCs from taxes. This means Charles Koch gets back all those millions he’s spent to buy legislators. It’s a great day in Koch-Land!

  2. I saw this on a comment months ago at zerohedge.com
    “”No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
    Just add corporation, or institution next to King, Prince and Foreign State. It’s hardly a reinterpretation, because its purpose is clear.”

  3. Ryan Morton

    I heart Tyler.

    • petetalbot

      While I don’t “heart Tyler,” I like the guy and think he has a bright political future.

      I’m disappointed he’s challenging Sue Malek for Carol William’s state senate seat (Carol, unfortunately, is termed out). Sue has paid her dues by serving two terms in the Montana House. She has a proven, progressive voting record.

      On Tyler’s plan to reign in corporate influence in state elections, his third proposal — not allowing “electioneering” corporations to receive state contracts — actually has some teeth, although it wouldn’t effect that many corporations. It’s a start, though, and at least he’s looking at the issue. I know that Sue is committed to challenging those poltroons who are attacking Montana’s corporate finance laws (American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock).

      But this really needs to be addressed at the federal level with a Constitutional Amendment overturning Citizens United.

      Of course, if Tyler wins the Senate District 46 primary race, I’ll support him in the general election. I just wish he’d advance his political career in another district, like getting out early and challenging someone like uber-right, tea party, Montana House candidate Champ Edwards — a truly bad representative from the Missoula area.

      • Ryan Morton

        I heart Sue too. Anyway, I live in Helena. I’m sure Missoula will be represented well overall.

        Public employees are already looking at bill requests to gut collective bargaining in Montana. So, after the primary, everyone needs to get organized, get active, get involved, and then vote. Public employees aren’t the only group/issue that will be under fire with GOP leadership.

        Anyway, good luck to all the candidates out there!

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