24 Aug 2010 President Obama’s Radio Address “No Corporate Takeover of Our Democracy” Exposes President’s Double Standard Regarding Corporate Influence
Washington, DC – The Free Enterprise Project is charging President Obama with having a double standard on corporate money and influence.
“After using big business to advance his political agenda, suddenly President Obama is expressing concerns about corporate money in the political process. The fact is corporations played a crucial role in making ObamaCare law and getting the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill passed in the House of Representatives,” said Tom Borelli, Ph.D., director of the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project.
During his radio address Saturday, President Obama expressed fear that the Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case would allow corporate special interests to spend unlimited amounts of money to sway elections. The president warned that companies could “hide behind a phony name like ‘Citizens for a Better Future,'” since a business entity paying for TV advertising is not required to disclose its name. The president added that the business could be a foreign corporation: “You don’t know if it’s BP,” said Obama.
Borelli notes that President Obama was the sole spokesperson in a television advertisement touting the benefits of his health care plan — an advertisement sponsored by Americans for Stable Quality Care, an organization funded by the drug industry and SEIU, the service employees’ union. In addition, Politico reported that PhRMA, the drug industry trade group, at one point planned to spend “as much as $150 million for advertising and grass-roots activity to help pass the president’s plan.”
“President Obama’s selective outrage about corporate influence is alarming. It’s ironic that the president himself appeared in a TV advertisement sponsored by what he now calls “shadowy groups with harmless-sounding names,” added Borelli.
“The President’s reference to BP is also disturbing. While Obama is trying to frighten the public by depicting BP as a ‘foreign-controlled corporation,’ he failed to mention the company was an ally in lobbying for his cherished cap-and-trade legislation. BP was a founding member of the United States Climate Action Partnership – a lobbying group that was largely responsible for passing the Waxman-Markey bill in the House of Representatives in 2009,” said Borelli.
Borelli notes that corporate interests such as General Electric have been a key ally of President Obama: “GE CEO Jeff Immelt has been a cheerleader for Obama’s political plan including the president’s green energy agenda. Immelt has partnered with Obama in seeking the so-called green energy economy and the company has aggressively lobbied for the president’s $ 787 billion stimulus plan. Hundreds of millions of dollars of the stimulus money was subsequently steered to GE’s customers. It’s disingenuous for the president to challenge corporate influence when he has actively partnered with big business when it served his political purposes,” added Borelli.
In a radio address last year, Obama cited the important role corporations were playing in pressing for cap-and-trade, saying, “Utility companies and corporate leaders are working with environmental advocates and labor leaders to find a way to reduce dependence on foreign oil, to fight climate change, and to create millions of new jobs in America.”
Borelli concludes, “Corporate special interests such as GE and the drug industry can be as much as a risk to liberty as progressive politicians. This is especially true when the agenda of big business aligns with progressive elected officials and labor unions. This is why Tea Party activists need to challenge politicians and business leaders.”
The National Center for Public Policy Research, established in 1982, is a non-partisan, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) think-tank with over 100,000 recent donors. Less than one percent of its revenue comes from corporate sources.