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Poll: Corporate political cash hurts small business

Published January 19, 2012 8:20 am

Money • Owners say court's Citizen United ruling squelched their voices.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

An opinion poll released Wednesday found that two-thirds of small business leaders believe the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision hurts them, and a whopping 88 percent view money as playing a negative role in politics.

The high court's 5-4 decision, handed down two years ago this Saturday, flung open the door for corporations, associations and labor unions to spend unlimited amounts of cash to influence elections as long as they remain "independent" of candidate campaign committees.

The online survey, commissioned by the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), Main Street Alliance and Small Business Majority, was conducted by Lake Research and queried 500 random small-business owners between Dec. 8 and Jan. 4.

Respondents answered questions about the ruling's impact on small businesses and their view on the role money plays in politics.

"As we approach the two-year anniversary of the Citizens United case, the verdict is loud and clear. The ruling hurts the small businesses that we need to be strong for economic recovery," ASBC Executive Director David Levine said in a statement.

In response to the question about the ruling's impact, 9 percent considered it good, 66 percent bad, 19 percent neither and 6 percent did not know.

When asked about money's role in politics, 88 percent considered it negative, 4 percent positive, 7 percent neutral and 1 percent did not know.

The survey had a +/- 4.4 percent margin of error.

Small-business owners, frustrated with having to compete against corporate cash to be heard, are fighting back, Levine said.

"More than 1,000 business owners have joined ASBC's Business for Democracy campaign to fight for a constitutional amendment that overturns this decision."

For more information about the poll, go to http://www.asbcouncil.org, mainstreetalliance.org or smallbusinessmajority.org.

In related action, the Corporate Reform Coalition — made up of institutional investors, public officials, legal scholars, good-government groups and business executives — supports a petition urging the Securities and Exchange Commission to issue rules to rein in corporate political spending.

To view the petition online, go to: http://www.sec.gov/rules/petitions/2011/petn4-637.pdf

Small-business poll about Citizens United ruling

Good or bad for small business: 9 percent good, 66 percent bad, 19 percent neither, 6 percent don't know

Money's role in politics: 4 percent positive, 88 percent negative, 7 percent neutral, 1 percent don't know

For more information, go to tinyurl.com/smallbizpoll