"Business For Democracy" Campaign Forms to Oppose Citizens United v. FEC Decision

For Immediate Release: 
January 20, 2011


Group led by the American Sustainable Business Council with support from Ben & Jerry’s and other business leaders, unveils Business Statement calling for “government by the people."

Washington, D.C. – A group of American companies and business leaders have joined together to form a new campaign called “Business for Democracy” that opposes unlimited corporate spending in public elections. The campaign launches on the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision that lifted longstanding restrictions on corporate spending to support or oppose candidates for public office.

Business leaders will appear at a news conference at 9:00 a.m. at the offices of Public Citizen located at 1600 20th Street, NW at Dupont Circle in Washington D.C. At the event, founding members of Business for Democracy will unveil and sign a Business Statement and urge other American companies to join the campaign.

Business for Democracy is spearheaded by the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), with support from Ben & Jerry’s and other committed businesses. The campaign represents the thousands of businesses that believe the ruling is inconsistent with the basic ideal of “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

“Business can and should play a positive role in our society and our politics. In light of the Citizens United decision, we feel it is critical for business to step up to protect true democracy, which is government by the people. We believe it is a basic principle of responsible business practice to refrain from influencing public elections through excessive spending that ultimately disempowers voters,” said Jeffrey Hollender, Co-Founder of Seventh Generation and the American Sustainable Business Council.

“Apparently the Supreme Court couldn’t tell the difference between real people and corporations,” Ben & Jerry’s Co-Founder Ben Cohen said. “This was an outrageous decision and we need to make it clear that elections should not be bought and sold by corporations. We completely disagree with this ruling and we are not alone, as more and more business leaders are joining this important campaign.”

“The power is taken out of the people’s hands when corporations are able to support candidates without any restraints and that is a great concern for democracy,” Ben & Jerry’s Co-Founder Jerry Greenfield proclaimed. ”Citizens United goes too far because it gives companies too much influence in the people’s process.”

Like thousands of businesses, Americans are also unhappy with the controversial ruling. In fact, a 2010 Washington Post poll found that 80 percent of Americans disagree with the decision and support limits on corporate spending in elections.

Along with ASBC and Ben & Jerry’s, founding Business for Democracy supporters include: Stonyfield Farm, Patagonia, Seventh Generation, the Social Venture Network, New Voice of Business, and nearly two dozen other companies and leaders (see attached list).

To learn more about “Business for Democracy,” visit www.BusinessForDemocracy.com.

American Sustainable Business Council is a growing national coalition of business organizations that supports policies leading to a vibrant, just and sustainable economy.

Through its 28 partners, ASBC represents over 60,000 businesses and social enterprises and more than 150,000 entrepreneurs, owners, executives, investors and business professionals. ASBC works to unite the business community, educate for and reframe the debate and catalyze change for a new economy.

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