Corporations Give 61% of Total Initiative Funding, Outspend Unions 12 To 1 — Prop. 89 Will Level the Playing Field
Santa Monica, CA — The top 10 corporate donors to 2006 ballot initiatives are responsible for half the money given to ballot initiatives — most of which is spent on television ads — so far this year, giving $132 million or 51 percent of the $255 million raised to date, according to an analysis released today by the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR).
These ten corporations have spent at least 1 of every 4 dollars contributed in all state races for candidates and initiative measures ($466 million to date, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.)
Proposition 89 will eliminate corporate blank checks in the initiative process by capping corporate treasury contributions to ballot initiatives at $10,000 and requiring additional contributions to come from a PAC funded with voluntary contributions from corporate executives, employees, and shareholders.
Corporations overall have given 61% of the total $255 million contributed to ballot measures this year. Corporations have outspent unions on ballot measures more than 12 to 1: $157 million to $12 million. See a list of the top ten corporate, union and individual expenditures on ballot initiatives in 2006: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/toptens.pdf.
“Voters are fed up with the avalanche of misleading television ads that are inevitable when just 10 corporations are allowed to give half the money raised for ballot initiatives in an election. Proposition 89 will change all that, slashing the amount of corporate money spent on ballot measures to lessen the onslaught of ads and level the playing field,” said Carmen Balber of FTCR.
The Yes on 89 campaign began running a commercial on Tuesday, “Stop The Pounding,” that takes direct aim at the barrage of misleading TV ads that distort California elections. View the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAXsIs5ouX8&eurl=.
The top ten corporate spenders on ballot initiatives this year are:
Philip Morris USA Inc. – $30,420,081
Chevron Corporation – $30,250,000
Aera Energy (ExxonMobile & Shell) – $24,620,838
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company – $22,781,513
CA Hospitals Committee On Issues, Sponsored By CAHHS(*) – $9,916,673
Occidental Oil And Gas Corporation – $9,350,000
U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. – $2,121,799
California Alliance For Jobs Rebuild California Committee(Ã½) – $1,800,000
Plains Exploration & Production Company – $1,250,000
Commonwealth Brands, Inc. – $1,250,000
TOP TEN TOTAL: $132,510,903
Proposition 89 also restricts all contributions to candidate campaigns, and provides public funds for candidates who reject private contributions, allowing them to compete without owing favors to big money donors. For more information, visit: http://www.yeson89.org.
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* Major funding provided by hospital and health care corporations
Ã½ Major funding provided by construction/builders