Prop 32 is a DEATH THREAT to American Democracy

The San Bernadino Sun says

Proposition 32 prohibits unions and corporations from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes, which on the surface sounds fair and balanced. But 99.9 percent of California corporations don’t use payroll deduction for political giving; they would still be allowed to use their corporate profits to influence elections.

Instead, Proposition 32 unfairly singles out and limits the voices of teachers, nurses and firefighters who keep us safe. It takes away the ability of these everyday heroes to speak out on issues that matter to us all, like cuts to schools, police and fire response times, workplace safety, consumer protections, and homeowner rights.

Official Voter pamphlet summary ——- Italics indicates text from the voter pamphlet  

Prohibits unions from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. Applies same use prohibition to payroll deductions, if any, by corporations or government contractors. Prohibits union and corporate contributions to candidates and their committees. Prohibits government contractor contributions to elected officers or their committees.

Unions are a vital entity in the Democratic Party, which will become an irrelevant third party if union participation stops. If Prop 32 passed the only voices in the political process will be corporate voices.  

California is one of the most Democratic states; if Prop 32 passes Prop 32 type ballot measures will be put on the ballot in every other state until no labor union in America has a political voice.  American Democracy demands that all the people have a voice.

Both unions and corporations will be deterred from participation in the political process. Prop 32 will have a far greater negative effect on unions than on corporations. Corporate funds will still be available for supporting ballot measures but not candidates. Union funds collected through payroll deductions cannot be used to support candidates, ballot measures or lobbying.

What won’t unions be able to do?

No Labor union shall make a contribution to any candidate, candidate controlled committee; or to any other committee, including a political party committee, if such funds will be used to make contributions to any candidate or candidate controlled committee.

This part says nothing about payroll deductions. It also says nothing about ballot measures. No union funds may be used to elect candidates, no matter what the source.

No Labor union shall deduct from an employee’s wages, earnings, or compensation any amount of money to be used for political purposes.

This includes supporting ballot measures and candidates with payroll deducted union dues.  It also means that there can be no political content in communications such as newsletters to union members.  Union website would similarly be banned from advocating political positions.

“Political purposes” means a payment made to influence or attempt to influence the action of voters for or against the nomination or election of a candidate or candidates, or the qualification or passage of any measure; or any payment received by or made at the behest of a candidate, a controlled committee, a committee of a political party, including a state central committee, and county central committee, or an organization formed or existing primarily for political purposes, including, but not limited to, a political action committee established by any membership organization, labor union, public employee labor union, or corporation.

This definition seems to include lobbying and support of Democratic clubs and central committees.  Support includes use of union halls for campaigning, meetings, organizing, phone banking and fund raising.  Unions would be prevented from providing the feet on the street for door to door campaigning.  

What will unions be able to do?

Union members and everyone else will still be able to make voluntary donations for political causes to PACs. Some unions may choose to collect dues directly from members or to collect some portion of dues directly from members. Dues collected directly would be exempt from the ban on political spending for ballot measures. Some union members may agree to pay dues directly rather than through payroll deductions, those dues may be used for supporting ballot measures.

Labor union” means any organization of any kind, or any agency or employee representation committee or plan, in which employees participate and which exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with employers.

This apparently includes all labor union in the US, but CA courts have no jurisdiction for unions outside CA. National unions with membership in CA may be included.

What won’t corporations be able to do?

No corporation shall make a contribution to any candidate, candidate controlled committee; or to any other committee, including a political party committee, if such funds will be used to make contributions to any candidate or candidate controlled committee.

Note that this says nothing about payroll deductions. This provision prevents corporate funding of candidate elections.  Corporations don’t fund candidate elections, corporate PACs joined and funded by executives fund candidates.  

“Corporation” means every corporation organized under the laws of this state, any other state of the United States, or the District of Columbia, or under an act of the Congress of the United States.

If a corporation any place in the US makes any political contribution to any candidate it is in violation of this law.

What will corporations be able to do?

Corporate, pre-tax funds can be used for supporting ballot measures and for lobbying. Corporate executives and anyone else can voluntarily donate for political causes to PACs; this is the way most conservative PACs are currently funded.  

Corporations are frequently members of advocacy organization like the Camber of Commerce and will continue to wield political influence through those organizations. lists PACs by industry, Prop 32 will not prevent these PACs from doing anything that they are currently doing.   Some corporations like defense contractor Northrup Grumman have their own PAC in the name of their employees with their VP of Government Relations as the person in charge of the PAC which is funded by donations from employees.  Those who want to rise in corporate management are wise to make contributions to the company PAC.  

Bottom line

Unions are greatly deterred from political activities while corporations are deterred from doing what they don’t do anyway.  Without a strong union voice American Democracy will not last long.  Vote NO on Prop 32 and tell everyone you know why it is a DEATH THREAT to DEMOCRACY.