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Monday, February 9, 2015

Why the Voters Don't Win: Big business crushed ballot measures in 2014

Haven't we all on at least one occasion been puzzled how we (the people) could lose such a vote in our legislature? It had been a slam-dunk we'd thought.

Well, here's your answer, and you won't like it. Washington's corporate corruption has run down hill, and now in our backyard - - many made possible by taxpayer-subsidized IRS non-profit tax-exempt charters!
How could anyone miss their own foot from a range that close!

  • Business interests among the top 50 donors were almost always successful, winning 96 percent of the time.

  • Four out of every five dollars that the top contributing business groups gave to ballot measure fights went to the sides trying to defeat the proposals.
Here's a California example. Some of the individual state corporate donors follow at bottom...

Feb. 5, 2015

Anthem Inc. quickly mounted its defenses when consumer advocates pushed for a 2014 ballot initiative in California that would have made it more difficult for the nation’s third largest health insurer to raise rates.

The company, based in Indianapolis, Ind., shelled out $12.8 million to back television ads and a website that warned voters the measure would “give one politician too much power,” “create more bureaucracy” and “interfere with your treatment options.”

Anthem’s money, combined with millions from other interested parties, swamped efforts by Consumer Watchdog, the advocacy group that spent four months gathering the signatures to put Proposition 45 on the ballot. Opponents of the bill together gave more than $31.5 million — dwarfing supporters’ $2.6 million.
In November, Anthem and the other big business interests won at the polls, with nearly 59 percent of the vote. 

Anthem, formerly known as WellPoint, was the second-biggest donor to groups fighting over ballot measures in the nation last year, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis. The donors gave the money to political committees that advocated for or against the propositions. The health insurer did not respond to requests for comment.

Anthem’s victory on Proposition 45 was part of a pattern that played out across the country: Business interests poured money into ballot question fights, largely to protect their own revenue, with overwhelmingly positive results.

More than three-quarters of the $266 million given by the top 50 donors to ballot measure groups nationwide came from corporations or business trade groups, according to the analysis. They gave most of their money to defeat proposals and were almost always successful, winning 96 percent of the time.

“There’s no question that when business or corporations or entities that are affected by ballot initiatives give to the ballot initiative process, they're not doing so out of altruism," said Joe Tuman, a professor of political and legal communications at San Francisco State University. "They’re doing so out of rational self-interest." 

February 5, 2015
Independent political group