No on 32

Of the statewide measures on the November 6 ballot, one in particular is not what it seems. That’s Proposition 32, the so-called “Stop Special Interest Money Now Act,” which purports to be an evenhanded campaign-finance reform, but in fact is, as Michael Hiltzik writes in the Los Angeles Times, “a fraud to end all frauds.”

Prop. 32 is the third attack on unions—two similar initiatives, in 1998 and 2005, failed—by a core group of super-rich Republicans known for their lavish spending on conservative causes and candidates.

The measure purports to limit both corporate and union contributions to political campaigns, but it won’t do so because it doesn’t include so-called super PACs and independent-expenditure groups, which will still be allowed to spend unlimited money.

In the meantime, unions, which often are the only campaign-funding source that can compete with corporations and the ultrawealthy, would be prohibited from automatically deducting dues from members’ paychecks for political purposes, even if the members approve. This would effectively cripple them as political players.

We don’t always agree with how unions use their money and power, but we know that without their influence, the corporations and the 1 percent would exercise even more power than they do now, and that would be terrible for California. Vote no on Proposition 32.