What if Politicians had to Wear the Corporate Logos of Their Donors?
When we watch NASCAR, the corporate sponsors of the drivers are clearly visible. When we watch a movie, the product placements are hard to ignore. And when we watch a TV show, the unavoidable commercials reveal who is really paying for the show’s production. So why is it that when we see a politician, his suit isn’t plastered with the logos of his corporate sponsors?
As hilarious as that sounds, it may become a reality in California in the very near future. An advocacy group known as “California Is Not For Sale” recently submitted a potential ballot measure to the Attorney General, that would not only force lawmakers to wear the logos of their top ten sponsors when they speak in the state legislature, their political ads would also have to disclose their contributors. According to the group:
“Imagine this: a California Senator is speaking on the floor and proposes a bill he just drafted that will give oil companies huge tax advantages. Now imagine if on his jacket, he was wearing Chevron, Shell, and BP logos – some of his top ten contributors. Our law will bring this under-the-table-corruption to the surface and expose these politicians who take political contributions in exchange for favors for what they really are: corrupt.”
Of course, this wouldn’t be limited to oil companies. Remember when the state legislature passed SB277, which removed “personal exemptions” and forced all kids attending schools and daycare centers to be vaccinated? That bill was initially backed by a senatorwho received campaign contributions from big pharma. Imagine how foolish he would have looked if he tried to push SB277, whilst appropriately decked out in the logos of the companies who wanted him to propose that bill?
As you can imagine, the state’s elected representatives are not too happy about this measure. According to Ryan Smith, the coordinator for “California Is Not For Sale”, the political class is pissed, and not just for his ballot measure. In the past his group has staged protests with cardboard cutouts of the state legislators, covered from head to toe with their corporate sponsors.
Smith said the organization has received angry emails from some legislators demanding the group stop using life-size cutouts of their image. Senator Marty Block toldSan Diego’s local ABC affiliate that he “supports reasonable measures to provide more transparency to our legislative process,” but did not explicitly endorse the measure.
Though assembly member Rocky Chavez acknowledgedthe legislature needs more transparency, he argued that “[t]o have everyone decked out like race car drivers would be a circus element which wouldn’t really benefit the public.” Instead, he suggested requiring candidates and legislators to list their top ten donors on their websites, though this would likely mean far less exposure than displaying them on the floor of the legislature.
Asked about Chavez’s claim the proposed law would create a “circus element,” Smith responded, “You know what’s a circus? That politicians can openly take money from corporations and unions and have no accountability afterwards. It’s a complete joke. If Mr. Chavez doesn’t like this, I have a brilliant solution for him: stop taking money. Problem solved, circus avoided!”
If logo laden cardboard cutouts are enough to freak them out, imagine how impotent they will be if they have to wear these logos on their suits, while they are proposing new bills?
Make no mistake, this could really happen. The measure will be given a title and summary by the Attorney General next week. At that point, all it needs is 365,000 signatures, and then it will be on the ballot for the 2016 election. And considering that the bill addresses an issue that frustrates most, if not all voters, including liberals and conservatives, this might receive plenty of broad support.
And when you consider the fact that the political class is hated now more than ever in this country, it sounds even more likely. Everyoneis sick and tired of dealing with politicians who have sold out, and don’t actually represent them. Not only would this bill have a practical effect, but it would satisfy a vindictive itch among the voters. We’ve been fooled over and over again by politicians, and for once, we’d love to see them look foolish.
*Article by Joshua Krause