Our friends at USPIRG have a new report out today, “Chemical Insecurity,” that highlights the 14 chemical companies that endanger the most Americans in the event of a chemical release and the millions of dollars they’ve spent on lobbying and campaign contributions to keep regulation at bay.
According to the report, “The political action committees (PACs) of these fourteen companies and the PACs of their affiliated trade associations gave $2,187,868 in the 2008 election cycle and the 2010 cycle to date directly to the campaigns of members of the committees of jurisdiction over chemical security legislation.”
After laying out what can be done to protect the safety of Americans near these plants, the report makes some conclusions about the need to address the outsided role corporations have in influencing the policy-making process due to their ability to spend millions of dollars playing the influence game in Washington, D.C.
From the report:
Corporations are heard at a louder volume and more frequently by the members of committees that control policy that directly affects corporate interests. This is an issue that skews our democratic process, and it requires a solution.
So, what’s the solution? Fair Elections:
Finally, in the long term we need truly systemic reform to get money out of politics and stop the rampant spending by corporate interests on campaign contributions. The Fair Elections Now Act (H.R.1826) introduced by Representatives John Larson and Walter Jones, would provide public financing for congressional candidates, thereby empowering voters and putting power to fund elections in the hands of the small donors rather than the corporate special interests.
Make sure to check out the whole report (pdf).