Just yesterday, in a big win for Vermont’s democracy, the state Senate officially voted to prohibit corporations from making direct contributions to political candidates in the state. This bill, S.47, introduced by Senators Pearson and Pollina, will be key to getting big money out of our political system – and it’s now up to our state representatives in the House to see it through.
VPIRG’s been working for many years to reduce the influence of corporations and the super-wealthy in our elections. Just a couple of weeks prior to yesterday’s vote, our Executive Director, Paul Burns, testified in favor of the bill, and delivered a list to Senators of over 700 VPIRG members who signed a petition in support of banning corporate campaign contributions in Vermont.
The idea here is simple: corporations are not people and they shouldn’t have the same rights as living, breathing human beings when it comes to supporting candidates and influencing elections.
In fact, the federal government banned corporate contributions more than 100 years ago (Teddy Roosevelt was president, and the law has since been undermined by more recent Supreme Court rulings), and 22 states across the country have done the same. It’s time for Vermont to join those states that have taken a stand against corporate influence in elections.
Last year, the House never voted on the legislation after it passed the Senate. Our government reform team at VPIRG is determined to not let that happen again, so be sure to check back on our website for updates as this legislation moves forward.