A state lawmaker thinks corporations that get involved in Wisconsin elections should get the okay from their shareholders. And Kenosha Democrat, state Senator Robert Wirch, has put that concept into legislation he’s offering in the wake the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that’s widely seen as opening the floodgates to corporate money in elections. “We’re asking corporations that want to become involved in Wisconsin politics, theoretically with unlimited contributions, to have an election with their shareholders,” said Wirch. “I’m not sure when you buy a stock of a company you’re considering the political ramifications if they want to get involved in races,” said Wirch. “This piece legislation will give shareholders a chance to express their views in that area.”
Wirch notes that John Bogle, the founder and retired chairman of the nation’s largest mutual fund firm, was recently quoted as saying shareholders are “at the bottom of the food chain.” His bill would require corporations planning to get involved in Wisconsin elections to have the approval of the majority of it’s shareholders. Wirch says his bill has an advantage over a proposed constitutional amendment to bar corporate cash. “A constitutional amendment could literally take decades to get through,” said Wirch. “If we can get this bill through this session, signed by the governor, it could play a potential role in the November elections.” Wirch’s bill (SB 540) would require the corporations to file the results of their shareholder votes with the Government Accountability Board.
AUDIO: Bob Hague (1:15 MP3) AUDIO: Bob Hague reports (1:15 MP3)