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Supreme Court decision gutting campaign-financing laws is bad news for consumers

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It was an ironic day.

As the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision to sweep aside decades of legislative restrictions on the role of corporations in political campaigns, I was at the state capital in Olympia, Wash., celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Votes for Women in the state and first women to be elected to offices here.

The court’s decision strikes down a 63-year-old prohibition on corporations and labor unions using money from their general treasuries to produce and air campaign ads in races for Congress and the presidency. Its ruling also overturned a ban on corporations and unions airing campaign ads in the 30 days before a primary or 60 days before a general election.

I think this decision is a stunning blow for consumers.

What’s needed are more restrictions on lobbying and campaign donations, not less.

Corporate power, including the tremendous influence of the banking industry, needs to be curbed, not unleashed.

The country was brought to its knees by the reckless financial wheeling and dealing of Wall Street and banks, and, as a result, we were plunged into the Great Recession.

As I was in the Rotunda of the state’s capitol building and in the Secretary of State’s Office, I thought about the importance of the electoral process and how vital it is that we elect quality candidates. Consumers can’t get what they need when corporations rule the world.

The court’s unfortunate decision was a big reminder of what’s at stake for American consumers. Consumers must participate in the election of leaders at the local, state, and national level and voice their opinions in the development of policy.

This activism balances the overwhelming power of corporations and the billions of dollars they spend to influence lawmakers.

Copyright 2010, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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