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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 24, 2019 10:54 AM
From: Representative Eddie Day Pashinski
To: All House members
Subject: Approval for corporate campaign contributions and independent expenditures
In 2010, the Supreme Court decided in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money on independent expenditures calling for the election or defeat of political candidates. This decision was heavily based on the reasoning that this type of corporate election spending is protected political speech under the First Amendment, on the grounds that a corporation is speaking on behalf of their shareholders. However, these same corporations have no process for assessing what their shareholders actually want as well as their political preferences.

To correct this flaw, I plan to introduce legislation requiring shareholder approval for corporate campaign contributions and independent expenditures. My legislation will prohibit corporations who are doing business in the Commonwealth from making a campaign contribution or independent expenditure unless the bylaws of the corporation establish adequate procedures for effectively determining and fairly representing the preference of the majority of the shareholders. Such procedures will be deemed adequate if shareholders are notified of and have the opportunity to vote on the proposed election campaign contribution. If a corporation fails to do so, an affected shareholder may bring a civil action against the directors of the corporation to recover the amount of the contribution.

This legislation was introduced as HB1417 in the 2017-18 Legislative Session and included the following members: PASHINSKI, CALTAGIRONE, McNEILL, D. COSTA,V. BROWN, DeLUCA, MADDEN, FREEMAN, RABB AND KORTZ.

Please consider joining me by co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation to bring fairness and transparency to our system of campaign finance.