The Case for the Clean Money Initiative

By Joni Eisen, Letter to the Editor

Editor -- Talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water. You seize on just one of aspect of Prop. 89 -- the $10,000 limit on corporate treasury contributions to ballot measures -- as an excuse to jettison the whole thing. You don't mention that Prop. 89's contribution limits are equal across the board for corporations, individuals and unions, except in that one case. You bemoan the unfairness to corporations, poor things, whose tax loopholes alone cost Californians $3.3 billion a year; whose immense wealth allows them routinely to outspend unions at least 3:1 (the special election notwithstanding -- but such union spending cannot be maintained). You ignore the fact that corporations can still form PACs, as unions and others do, to solicit unlimited donations from individual shareholders, officers, etc. These contributions are voluntary, unlike the spending of shareholder/customer money from corporate treasuries.

This is no reason to deprive Californians of an unprecedented chance to end the crisis of corruption in our government. It's not perfect -- "free speech" rulings prevent limiting a wealthy individual from funding a ballot measure or his own candidacy -- but it is a giant step forward. Nobody notices the Clean Money successes of Maine or Arizona. California can't be ignored.

Joni Eisen
San Francisco

See the article on San Francisco Chronicle website

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