More Reports of Foreign Interests/Global Corporations Meddling in American Elections

Where did the hundreds of millions of dollars that were used in the ubiquitous attack ads in the 201o mid-term elections come from? Who funded attack ads such as the fraudulent one that falsely accused a Congresswoman of supporting Viagra for rapists in the health care reform law? According to Bloomberg, the multi-billion, transnational corporation Merck & Co. and other pharmaceutical corporations secretly were behind that one.

Nearly two years after the elections, the truth slowly is coming out about how some of the biggest, most global corporations in the world corruptly influenced American elections after Citizens UnitedBloomberg links millions of dollars of contributions and spending from global corporations through front groups such as the American Action Network and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In addition to Merck, the corporations meddling in American elections include  Chevron, Prudential Financial Inc., and Target.

Previous reports show that the global corporations such as News Corporation funneled millions of dollars into the 2010 election. As with most global corporations, News Corporation’s largest shareholders also are global corporations based around the world. For example, the second largest shareholder in News Corporation, after the Murdoch family, is Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding Company of Saudi Arabia, holding more than $2 billion of shares. Similarly, more than half of the shareholders of the Germany-based Merck & Co. are outside the United States.

Earlier this month, the Sunlight Foundation reported on how the Citizens United decision could lead to foreign interests influencing the outcome of American elections.

It remains illegal for foreign human beings to engage in U.S. election spending. As a recent Court decision says, “it is fundamental to the definition of our national political community that foreign citizens do not have a constitutional right to participate in, and thus may be excluded from, activities of democratic self-government.”

 

About Jeff Clements

Jeff Clements is co-founder and chair of the board of Free Speech for People, a national non-partisan campaign to overturn Citizens United v. FEC, challenge excessive corporate power, and strengthen American democracy and republican self-government. He co-founded Free Speech For People in 2010, after representing several public interest organizations with a Supreme Court amicus brief in the Citizens United case. Jeff has served as Assistant Attorney General and Chief of the Public Protection Bureau in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. As Bureau Chief, he led more than 100 staff in the enforcement of environmental, healthcare, financial services, civil rights, antitrust and consumer protection laws. In private practice, Jeff has been a partner at Mintz Levin in Boston, and in his own firm. Jeff also has served in leadership capacities on numerous boards, including that of the Portland Water District, a public agency responsible for protecting and delivering safe drinking water and ensuring proper treatment of wastewater for 160,000 people; Friends of Casco Bay, an environmental organization he co-founded with others to protect and enhance stewardship of Maine’s Casco Bay; and The Waldorf School in Lexington, Massachusetts. In 2012, Jeff co-founded Whaleback Partners LLC, which provides cost-effective capital to farmers and businesses engaged in local, sustainable agriculture. Jeff graduated with distinction in History and Government from Colby College in 1984, and magna cum laude from the Cornell Law School in 1988. He lives in Concord, Massachusetts with his wife and three children. Jeff Clements Twitter: @ClementsJeff Email: jclements@freespeechforpeople.org
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