Corporate donations to US political parties under fire

City A.M. Reporter
DEMOCRATS in the US Congress plan to unveil tough proposals this week to counter a Supreme Court ruling that allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts on elections.

President Barack Obama, who took the unusual step of publicly criticising the ruling in his State of the Union address in January, has warned it will give corporations and special interest groups undue influence in elections.

The bill would require the leaders of corporations, unions and other groups to put their names on television ads and would ban election spending by government contractors, companies with more than 20 per cent foreign ownership and recipients of taxpayer-funded bailout money.

“It is about restoring the proper balance. Certainly special interests have a right to be heard. The problem is when special interest voices drown out the voices of average Americans,” a senior White House official told Reuters.

Democratic aides said they hoped to introduce the measure this week but acknowledged they face hurdles that could delay it becoming law until after congressional elections in November, when Republicans hope to shrink Democrats’ majorities in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The bill, if it is passed, is also likely to face legal challenges in the courts as opponents probe for loopholes to overcome the restrictions.