The group D.C. Trust on Monday submitted more than 30,000 signatures to the D.C. Board of Elections in support of a ballot initiative seeking to prohibit corporations from making direct campaign donations to political candidates.
“D.C. residents want to see Initiative 70 on the ballot,” said Bryan Weaver, who filed the initiative with the Board of Elections earlier this year. “Our volunteers have gotten a tremendous response from residents across the city. It’s clear that D.C. residents are fed up with the pay-to-play culture in the Wilson Building and are tired of waiting for our elected officials to do the right thing.”
The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics has 30-days to review the signatures. The activists need roughly 23,000 valid signatures for the initiative to appear on the November ballot.
Federal law has banned corporations from making campaign donations directly to federal candidates since the Tillman Act of 1907. Though the Supreme Court struck down a ban on corporate independent expenditures in its controversial 2010 Citizens United decision, it left the ban on direct campaign contributions intact.
In addition, 21 states prohibit corporations from making direct campaign donations to candidates.
Those who support the ballot initiative — including the Sierra Club, Public Citizen and Jews United for Justice — said it would “rout out legalized corruption” in D.C.
“Corporate campaign giving makes a mockery of spending limits, as bundling through subsidiaries and affiliates is used to breach the legal campaign cash limits,” explained Aquene Freechild, Senior Organizer, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign. “We are confident that with this measure on the ballot, District residents will make clear with their votes that they want to end the corporate corruption of our elections.”
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