6HWbNHN-show-poster2x3-c7tgE2Y.png

Artbound

Start watching
MJ250sC-show-poster2x3-Bflky7i.png

Tending Nature

Start watching
Southland Sessions

Southland Sessions

Start watching
Earth Focus

Earth Focus

Start watching
5LQmQJY-show-poster2x3-MRWBpAK.jpg

Reporter Roundup

Start watching
City Rising

City Rising

Start watching
Lost LA

Lost LA

Start watching
Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Learn about the many ways to support KCET.
Support Icon
Contact our Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams.

Cheat Sheet: Proposition C Seeks to Limit Corporations' Influence on Campaigns

Support Provided By

The 2012 election season was, by far, the most expensive in United States history.

More than $6 billion were spent on candidates running for local, state, and national offices. The presidential race alone had a $2.6 billion bill. The unprecedented spending trumped the second-most expensive campaign season by more than $700 million.

One can argue that anticipated economic factors, such as inflation, made such exceptional expenditure possible.

But for proponents of Proposition C, the unparalleled spending is the result of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (FEC), a 2010 United States Supreme Court decision that prohibits the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations, labor unions, and special interest groups.

On May 21, Los Angeles voters will weigh in on this ruling with Proposition C, a measure that would instruct local lawmakers -- especially those who take up residence in Washington -- to support legislation calling for a reversal of this Supreme Court decision. The idea is that, eventually, public pressure will prompt the drafting of a constitutional amendment that would remove big money from electioneering for good.

 
Regardless of your stance on campaign finance reform and the appropriate role of corporations in political races, it's imperative for Los Angeles voters to understand that Proposition C merely a symbolic accord. There is no binding language in Proposition C. Nothing that would shake the foundation of the Citizens United ruling. Nothing that will take away the rights of corporations from funding the campaigns of their choosing in the near future.

But the initiative's proponents -- the Committee for Common Cause and the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) -- hope they can evoke change through popular sentiment and recreate the furor that brought forth the 17th Amendment to the United States' Constitution.

For those blanking on their U.S. history, the 17th Amendment forever changed the way U.S. Senators are elected to office. Prior to the amendment, the United States' Constitution instructed each state legislature to elect its own representatives to the Senate. Senators were not chosen by popular vote.

However reformists in the early 1900s championed symbolic votes, much like the Proposition C campaign, in state legislatures across the country. The political momentum generated by these symbolic votes spurred the writing and passage of the 17th Amendment, which mandates that representatives to the Senate be selected by popular vote.

Proposition C aims to take a page out of history. Its proponents say this is just another step (albeit a major one, given Los Angeles' population) in a process to limit the power of big corporations, labor unions and special interest groups in our political process.

States like Colorado and Montana have passed similar measures, as have the major cities of Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco. Voters on May 21 will decide if Los Angeles follows suit.

Key Points:


  • Would instruct Los Angeles' leaders in Washington to support any resolution calling for an amendment to the United States Constitution that would limit the rights of corporations with regard to funding political campaigns and overturn the Supreme Court's rulings in Buckley v. Valeo (1976) and Citizens United v. FEC (2010).
  • Would instruct Los Angeles' leaders in Washington to work diligently to bring such a joint resolution to a vote and passage.
  • Would instruct each state legislator representing Los Angeles residents to ratify any amendment to the Constitution that is consistent with the purpose and findings expressed in this resolution

What Your Vote Means:

Voting YES or NO on Proposition C will not have an immediate impact on municipal, state, or federal law.

However voting YES would encourage local politicians to propose and/or support any constitutional amendment that would limit the rights of corporations, labor unions, and special interest groups with regard to funding political campaigns.

A vote NO would not instruct the Los Angeles Congressional Delegation to pursue legislation that would limit the rights of corporations with regard to political expenditures.

Arguments Being Made For:

Big money has no place in elections and our democracy should never be for sale.

Spending huge amounts of money to influence election results isn't free speech, it's bought speech.

Corporations are not people, and therefore do not deserve the same rights.

Granting multinational corporations artificial rights above and beyond the individual rights of their shareholders undermines the rights of real people as voters, consumers and small business owners.

Voters in Montana, Colorado, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, and elsewhere have approved similar measures in the past year by overwhelming majorities.

Arguments Being Made Against:

There are no official arguments made against Proposition C in the May 21 voter's guide. Below are popular arguments made against the ballot measure.

Proposition C is an empty measure and will not enact change on it's own.

The United States Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that the First Amendment prohibits the government from limiting political expendatures by associations, corporations, and labor unions (Citizens United v. FEC, 2010).

The muddled measure is essentially a primal scream about the role of money in politics. L.A. voters should reject it (The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board).

Principal Proponent(s):
Committee for Common Cause, Yes on Prop C, California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG)

For the full text of the proposition, scroll through below:

(You may zoom in by clicking on the magnifying glass above).

Support Provided By
Read More
(LEFT) ER nurse Adwoa Blankson-Wood pictured near the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, wearing scrubs and a surgical mask; By October, Blankson-Wood was required to don an N-95 mask, protective goggles, a head covering and full PPE to interact with patients.

As A Black Nurse at The Pandemic's Frontlines, I've Had A Close Look at America's Racial Divisions

Most of the time, I was able to frame conversations within the context of the virus and not race, telling patients that we were doing our best, trying to be the heroes they kept calling us. But I was dying inside .... It was easier to find solace in my job, easier to be just a nurse, than to be a Black nurse.
The City of L.A. is staging a COVID-19 mobile vaccination clinic in Chinatown for senior citizens, in an attempt to improve access to the vaccine among vulnerable populations.

Long-Awaited COVID-19 Vaccine Access Expanding in L.A. County Monday

Los Angeles County’s COVID-19 vaccination effort will expand vastly Monday, but health officials said today those workers will have to be patient as vaccine supplies remain limited and staff are trained to ensure only eligible people receive shots.
Photo from above of people waiting in line on a sidewalk.

COVID-19 Pushes Many Indian Employers to Grant Informal Employees New Work Benefits

Bank accounts, housing and fixed wages among new benefits being offered to some of India's vast army of informal workers.