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California’s Prop. 32: How Does It Affect Union Members?

Why would corporate CEOs and deep-pocketed conservative campaign contributors finance and push a California ballot initiative that purports to keep “Special Interest” money out of politics?

Because thanks to loopholes big enough to drive armored trucks full of campaign cash through, it doesn’t keep their money out of politics. Prop. 32 keeps union members’ money out of politics.

The very deceptively titled “Stop Special Interest Money Now Act” would ban the use of voluntary payroll deductions by union members who want to contribute to their union’s political activity.    

While it claims to curtail corporate political spending, as Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik writes:

Proposition 32 bristles with enormous loopholes tailor-made for businesses and their wealthy backers. To begin with, it exempts such common business structures as LLCs, partnerships and real estate trusts. If you're a venture investor, land developer or law firm, Proposition 32 doesn't lay a finger on you….Proposition 32 is nothing but an attack by Republicans and conservatives on unions and their members.

The initiative’s biggest contributors, Hiltzik writes, are a quartet of mega-rich corporate players who, along with pushing Prop. 32, have shoveled millions of dollars to extremist conservative Republican candidates and groups, including Karl Rove’s American Crossroads

In this state, we've come to expect ballot initiatives sponsored by business interests to be, essentially, frauds. But it's hard to conceive how one could be more fraudulent than Proposition 32. If there was any doubt left that the initiative process has been totally corrupted by big business and the wealthy, this should put it to rest for all time.   

Read Hiltzik's full column here, learn more about Prop. 32 here and visit the “No on Prop. 32—Stop the Special Exemptions Act” campaign here.  

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