News Release

The Real Context of the GE Appointment


One year ago today, the Supreme Court ruled in the Citizens United case that corporate entities can spend unlimited money in elections, arguing that they have the same basic First Amendment rights as human beings.

President Obama is in Schenectady today, appointing by executive order GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt as chair of a new “President’s Council on Jobs and Competetiveness.” He is in effect replacing economic adviser Paul Volcker.

Ferguson’s books include Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven Political Systems. He is professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and a senior fellow of the Roosevelt Institute.

He said today: “Volcker out and Immelt in, because the administration now wants to emphasize ‘recovery’ and ‘jobs’ instead of ‘crisis stabilization’? Since when did any stabilization not include jobs as a top priority? What we actually have here is the disappearance from the scene of the best known and most visible critic of the excesses of the financial sector and his replacement by the sitting CEO of a company that is heavily dependent on government aid of all sorts, including diplomatic assistance to invest more in China. This is not about jobs, but political money — the White House knows that after Citizens United, it will need to raise about a billion dollars — that’s right, a billion — for its reelection campaign. That’s the context in which this and its other recent appointments need to be judged.”

Bonifaz is co-founder and director of Free Speech for People, a national non-partisan campaign working for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United ruling. He said today: “Free speech and other constitutional rights are for people, not corporations. The Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United will go down in history as contrary to the constitutional principles set forth by the Framers establishing a government of, for, and by the people. On this one-year anniversary of the ruling, we must renew our commitment to fighting for a 28th amendment to the Constitution that ensures that people, not corporations, govern in America.” Bonifaz is also legal director of Voter Action.

Also see: “Money and the Midterms: Are the Parties Over? Interview With Thomas Ferguson

See video of interviews with Ferguson on The Real News

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167