by DAVID BORRIS, Main Street Alliance for THE HILL
I’ve been a small business owner for more than 25 years. So it’s fair to say I’ve been around the block. I also happen to live in the Chicago metro area, so I know a thing or two about hard-nosed politics.
But even so, the brazen defense of secret political spending we’ve just witnessed in the U.S. Senate with the filibuster of the DISCLOSE Act still made my jaw drop. It’s hard for me to grasp how anyone who believes in free and fair competition would be against this basic level of transparency.
My wife and I pooled our life savings 27 years ago to take our shot at the American Dream. We started our catering business in 900 square feet with two employees and a handful of our mothers’ recipes. Through hard work and commitment – both our own and that of a dedicated staff – we’ve built a thriving business. Today we have 27 full-time, year-round employees, and over 80 part-time and seasonal workers.
I’m proud of what we’ve done and the role we play as job creators. I believe our country needs public policies that lay the foundation for more small business success stories like ours. Defending secrecy in political spending won’t do that.
The explosion of secret money in our elections leaves small businesses like mine at a severe disadvantage. I don’t have a line item in my budget for “independent expenditure” political ads. When big corporate entities and their CEOs dump millions of dollars into elections, there’s no way for small business owners like me to keep up.
Look, I’m a realist. I know that to be successful I have to deal regularly with big corporate interests. Some are direct competitors. Others are vendors, insurance companies, and big banks. I welcome the challenges that come with this – that’s why I chose to be a part of entrepreneurial America. But I want to face these challenges on a level playing field.
Dark money organizations and secret political spending make a mockery of that level playing field idea. They drown out the voices of Main Street and they corrupt and warp public policy to the benefit of narrow special interests. [MORE]
Via Eric Byler