24,000 Bank of America Customers Petition for End of Political Donations

bank of america, bofa, annual shareholders meeting, citizens united, citizens united v federal election commission, Trillum Asset Management, sumofus.org, corporate governance,
Jefferson Memorial (Leon Kaye)

This morning a petition with over 75,000 signatures that urges the end of political campaign contributions will be delivered at Bank of America’s annual shareholder meeting in Charlotte, NC. The signatures include over 24,000 Bank of America customers and 2200 of the company’s shareholders. The letter urges the nation’s second largest bank to stay out of electoral politics and end all donations to any political candidates or super PACs.

Two years after the landmark Supreme Court case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the delivery of signatures at 10:00 a.m. EST this morning is one sign that citizens are reacting against what they perceive to be the the growing influence of corporations in American elections.

The NGO SumOfUs.org, which launched the petition, has received the support of organizations including Trillium Asset Management. In an open letter endorsing SumOfUs.org’s petition, Trillium points out that BofA spent $2.1 million dollars alone during the 2007-2008 election cycle. That figure, however, does not include checks sent to trade organizations and tax-exempt, or “Astroturf” organizations that are technically non-profits but channel corporate money to fund a political agenda. Meanwhile polls indicate voters of all persuasions are worried, if not fed up, by the new era of big money politics, and some companies are even launching their own campaigns against the most controversial Supreme Court case in a generation.

And it is the money spent by organizations on initiatives other than traditional candidates’ political campaigns that has riled up more voters. This election will set new records spent on elections at all levels of government. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for example, spent anywhere between $50 and $75 million during the 2010 campaigns and that amount will surely spike this year. Not only is the increasing amount of corporate money influencing American political life, but often there is little or even no transparency on the source of such funds. During the 2004 and 2006 election cycles in the U.S., almost 100 percent of all political donations were identified. By 2010, that proportion had crashed to 32 percent.

Citizens United may have changed the face of political campaigns, but it could also be in the early stages of redefining the nature of corporate governance and how executives and boards deal with their stakeholders. Several companies, including Wells Fargo, IBM and Colgate Palmolive, have developed policies banning the practice of corporate spending on political campaigns. And the recent trials of ALEC and the backlash against the Heartland Institute are warning business executives and boards of directors to be careful about the company they keep.

SumOfUs.org’s founder Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman believes BofA could make better use of the money spent on political contributions to provide small business loans or assisting homeowners with underwater mortgages stay in their homes. Will the petition make any difference and will BoA executives listen? The webcast of Bank of America’s annual meeting starts tomorrow at 10 a.m. EST sharp. Shareholders cannot change a Supreme Court decision, but they can slowly influence how a company can or cannot spend its money–money that could, after all, have gone to them instead.

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.” – Thomas Jefferson

Leon Kaye, based in California, is a sustainability consultant and the editor of GreenGoPost.com. He also contributes to Guardian Sustainable Business and Inhabitat. You can follow him on Twitter.

Photo of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC courtesy Leon Kaye.

Based in Fresno, California, Leon Kaye has written for TriplePundit since 2010. He has lived across the U.S., as well as in South Korea, Abu Dhabi and Uruguay. Some of Leon's work can also be found in The Guardian, Sustainable Brands and CleanTechnica. You can follow him on Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost).

2 responses

  1. You might like this direct action protest I took on my own against Bank of America.  I called the credit card customer service line to do some “negotiating.”  Having a bit of leverage, I thought it presented a great opportunity to mess with them a little without fear of retribution. I made a video of the call and posted it on my blog along with my comments about what happened and a fuller “director’s cut” transcript.  Pay attention to his response to the classic line “Why does Bank of America hate Christmas?”  Enjoy.  http://www.ragingwisdom.com/?p=508

  2. LYP-Tiffany And Co was set up in 1837 a U.S. jewelry and silverware company. 1853 Charles Tiffany master control of the company and simplified company name to Tiffany & Co..the company has since established the jewelry industry for business.Tiffany Outlet gradually establish branches in all major cities around the world.Tiffany Outlet Store has developed its own set of precious stones, platinum standards,and was adopted by the Government of the United States as an official standard.Today,Tiffany Outlet Online is one of the world’s famous luxury goods company.Cheap Tiffany And Co Blue Box more succinct fashion unique style logo.

    Tiffany & Co Outlet,Queen’s jewelry industry,with diamonds and silver products known to the world.Tiffany And Co Outlet was founded in 1837,the beginning of the silver cutlery famous,and in 1851 launched a 925 silver ornaments and more famous.1960 Hollywood actress Audrey Hepburn starred in the “Tiffany Breakfast”is Tiffany Outlet named.Tiffany Jewelry Outlet,a symbol of American design.Of love and beauty, romance and dreams as the theme,but the wind reputation for nearly two centuries.Tiffany Rings is full of sensual beauty and soft,delicate sensibility to meet the fantasies and desires of all women in the world.

    In the world of high heels,christian louboutin is absolutely can not be ignored.christian louboutin sale is the favorite of European and American actress!Red-soled shoes are christian louboutin shoes signs marking,highlighting women’s lovely,beautiful and not play mature sexy.Whether you what kind of woman,all need to put on a pair of christian louboutin boots to set foot on the red carpet,we are unable to intervene As for your choice,but you should know that the christian louboutin sales name.

    The Max Azria’s herve leger from France,the brand established in 1985,is a famous fashion design house in Paris.herve leger dress is committed to shaping the women’s physical beauty,showing femininity another line feeling the silhouette.herve leger dresses every cut close to the body, carving out the perfect female body shape,and thus the image to get the name of “herve leger bandage dresses”.In addition to the ladies,herve leger sale famous perfume,herve leger shop and shopping malls of the world designated sales.

Leave a Reply