Citizen’s Meeting at John Cornyn’s Dallas Office 8/15/12
1. Our Group’s Direct Request to our Senator through Collin McLochlin, deputy regional director.
Please support an amendment overturning the Citizens United ruling because Money in politics via campaign contributions through lobbyists and other groups is corroding our democracy. And, the Citizen’s United ruling exacerbates this corrosion by allowing unlimited indirect campaign contributions to super PACs and social welfare organizations. The public and shareholders will not know who is behind the ads and information because donors can be anonymous if donating through the social welfare organizations. But, the candidate who is being supported will know who dropped all the money to get them into office, sooner or later, as the corporations and super rich come knocking for the political return on their investment through that candidate.
2. Paraphrased answers from Collin McLochlin.
It is unlikely that John Cornyn will support an amendment to overturn Citizens United because:
A. Even though these big contributions might take place, Senator Cornyn is not influenced by them. The reason he might attract big donations in the first place is because of his stated policies and campaign contributors already agree with his policies.
B. The Supreme Court recognizes these contributions as free protected speech and Senator Cornyn agrees with that.
C. Also, to reverse Citizens United is an insurmountable task because government is dysfunctional. That’s why when 67% of the public polled (across full political spectrum) are in agreement that it needs to be overturned, our Congress cannot actually respond to this bi-partisan public belief.
3. Individuals of our group brought forward examples of America’s democracy corroded through big money in politics.
Government should function as a democracy, and as part of that, it should establish consumer and citizen protection. But instead government and policy is being bent towards corporate interests in disregard of the general welfare.
A. Privatization of Texas Prisons (one example: incentives to set sentence terms for lengths that will keep the prisons full and profiting)
B. Payday Loan Lenders (contracts that take advantage of very poor people who often don‘t even speak the language.)
C. Limiting the Public’s Market Choices– delaying entry of new sustainable and clean energy on the market — and forcing consumer dependency on oil and gas. ((Collin responded to this point, expressing that Cornyn has a comprehensive energy policy, pointing to wind and solar. ))
D. Overlooking public’s and individual’s right to health while allowing companies to emit toxins profusely and irresponsibly.
4. Final Round: Why didn’t Republican congresspersons such as John McCain and John Cornyn support the DISCLOSE Act?
Explanation: Unions were not being limited by the act, only corporations. Unions can give money (including dues money) to the social welfare organizations and remain anonymous in the latest DISCLOSE Act
Our Response: Collin was told that we have a member who is the treasurer of Transport Workers Union, local #567, who could not be present for the meeting. We read his letter pointing to the fact that Unions are actually limited by law in how they may use dues money, and that Unions definitely cannot use it to donate to a candidate, super PAC, or social welfare organization.
Collin’s Response: It is possible that all unions don’t operate the same, but in law, unions have the option of using the dues money.
5. Meeting’s Close:
At the end of the meeting Collin asked us if we might be happy with some progress on the DISCLOSE Act. He agreed to look into Senator Cornyn’s willingness to support this act if it would treat Unions the same as corporations.