In an Opinion Question mailed out last month to every registered voter in the city, Salt Lakers declared that "corporations are not people" and "money is not speech." The vote was overwhelming, with 88 percent voting "For" and only 12 percent "Against."
Salt Lake City now joins more than 400 municipalities and states across the land in a massive grassroots effort to counteract misguided Supreme Court rulings like Citizens United, via a constitutional amendment.
The result of this vote, however, is not legally binding. So we need to take the next step: demand action from the City Council.
In the 2011 mayoral race, nearly half of all donations over $1,500 came from corporations. These kinds of direct contributions by corporations to candidates running for city offices should be banned, as they are in federal elections. At the very minimum, corporations that contract with, or seek contracts with, the city, should be banned from making political contributions.
Ultimately, what Salt Lake City should do is follow Albuquerque, N.M.’s example: create a voluntary public financing system that eliminates large contributions from private interests altogether. Details may be found at research.policyarchive.org/96100.pdf.
Salt Lake City
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