Proposition 32, the so-called “Stop Special Interest Money Now Act,” proposes to prohibit corporations and labor unions from making direct political contributions to candidates and/or candidate-controlled committees. It also would prohibit organizations from using payroll deductions as a source of political contributions—a practice common to labor unions, but not among corporations. Further, the measure would prohibit government contractors (including public sector unions) from contributing to political candidates and/or committees that have control over their contracts.
Why vote no?
Proposition 32 would shut down the ability of labor unions to support political candidates and causes, since they have a tradition of using payroll deductions for funding political support. Corporations, on the other hand, have almost never relied on payroll deductions; they instead depend on voluntary contributions from executives, a practice which still will be allowable under Proposition 32. Proposition 32 has been on the ballot before; in 2005 as Proposition 75, and in 1998 as Proposition 226 (it lost both times, by about the same 53-46% margin). This ballot measure is simply an attempt to remove a key linchpin of support for the Democratic Party—organized labor—and to provide corporations with an unfair ability to influence elections.
What if Proposition 32 passes?
If Proposition 32 passes, labor unions will no longer be able to support political candidates in the way they have for nearly 100 years—through payroll deductions of dues-paying union members. Corporations, however, will continue to enjoy raising funds for political candidates they support—with virtually no restrictions from this proposition. Just as important, SuperPACS and other such “independent expenditure” organizations will also be free to donate to candidates, since they are exempted from this measure. Finally, Proposition 32 is expensive—the non-partisan Office of the Legislative Analyst estimates that enforcing and enacting Proposition 32 will cost in excess of $1 million—mostly in enforcement and administrative setup costs.