I recently read about several corporations that, even as they publicly renounced Georgia’s new restrictions on voting, nonetheless have continued donating money to the very Georgia lawmakers who implemented these policies. This news comes as many of the corporations that pledged to withhold donations from U.S. senators who voted against certifying the November 2020 election results have quietly resumed those payments.
These stories highlight just how difficult it is for corporate America to break away from the “pay-to-play” method of political influence. While pervasive, pay to play (also known as “crony capitalism”) serves no one well.
Many corporations rue the money spent on Congress as a necessary evil, but such funds would be better spent investing in the company itself. Small companies are disadvantaged; they typically don’t have the budget to “play” in the political system that consequently rewards large companies over small ones. Many lawmakers hate having to spend hours out of each week “dialing for dollars” to raise money for their political parties, rather than serving their constituents. And those constituents end up with elected officials whose first loyalty lies with the interests of their large donors, rather than ordinary citizens.
Because U.S. courts have equated spending with free speech, the solution lies in amending the U.S. Constitution to explicitly allow the states and Congress to place limits on political spending. Check out your local American Promise chapter to find out how you can help in this effort.