MoveOn.org’s rally against corporate spending in elections was unsurprising in nearly every way. The only thing that surprised me was that most of the demonstrators were, not young'un hippies, but aging hippies. They use the internet, too?
- A represenative sample of the protesters
The rally took place outside of the Greater Seattle of Chamber Commerce. The location was chosen because the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been spending tons of money backing conservatives. Allegations even exist that the U.S. Chamber is channeling foreign money into U.S. politics. But the symbolism would have been more poignant if only the Seattle chamber had any affiliation with the U.S. Chamber. According to George Allen, senior vice president of government relations for the Seattle chamber, “We are two separate organizations on two separate coasts with two separate memberships.” Allen said his organization’s tax code status prohibits them from backing individual candidates, even if they wanted to. So... research, fuck yeah!
Led by MoveOn.org's Seattle council activist Sandra VanderVen and regional coordinator Jesse Braxton, the rally kicked off with sign-holding old people walking in a circle and yelling “Hey hey, ho ho, corporate money has got to go!” She and other speakers said MoveOn is unhappy with the free ability of corporations to spend in elections since the “nefarious” Citizens United decision. They don’t like the lack of transparency and they certainly don’t like that corporate money can seemingly crowd out the grassroots and obfuscate the issues. Of the corporations funding conservative candidates, VanderVen asked, “Why are [corporations] funding them? Because Republicans will do their bidding.”
Braxton then took over. I noticed two bike cops arrive at this time, too. They were respectful when I asked them if there had been complaints about the rally. There hadn’t. On the mic, Braxton told the crowd that Dino Rossi, the beneficiary of so many corporate dollars, would “push [his donors’] interests” if elected.
But what they don’t seem to have is a clear position on an alternative. When I asked VanderVen if she supported the stalled DISCLOSE Act, she avoided the issue before saying she preferred publicly-funded elections. On the other hand, Braxton told me MoveOn is in favor of the DISCLOSE Act, even if they would prefer the Fair Elections Now Act.