7 Reasons Why Ben & Jerry's Supports Campaign Finance Reform

January 22, 2016

A lid with an elephant and donkey cut out

At Ben & Jerry's, we are 100% pro-dough. We love it so much that it’s even the star of one of our most-loved ice cream flavors, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.

Dough in politics, on the other hand—well, that's a different story. High-rolling campaign donors, and the politicians they fund, sure do crave it. But they have no interest in sharing. And with so much money increasingly controlled by so few people, most of our voices will never be heard. When was democracy put up for sale?

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (FEC) is a big reason why politics is drowning in big money right now. In that 2010 decision, the Supreme Court essentially opened the floodgates: unlimited political spending by the largest corporations, wealthy individuals and other organizations is now the law of the land. Super PACs are gorging themselves on nearly endless donations – and doing everything they can to elect candidates that support the agenda of their donors. With (no) thanks to Citizens United, free speech got a whole lot more expensive.

At Ben & Jerry's, we have a long track record of supporting campaign finance reform. Here are seven reasons why we think this remains a critically important issue.

  1. If money = speech, then those with a lot of cash may as well be speaking with a megaphone. We believe that all voices should be heard.

  2. A campaign finance system built to benefit the rich and well-connected will result in legislation that caters to their interests, to the detriment of everyone else. The interests of regular folks will be left out in the cold.

  3. As the costs of running a campaign increase, candidates are under immense and constant pressure to raise money. It's no wonder that many target megadonors—and support policies close to their hearts.

  4. There isn’t enough transparency in campaign finance, meaning that huge donations can go undisclosed. We're left with no effective way to track the influence of all this "dark money" on the politicians who receive it.

  5. Real democracy only works when all of our interests are represented, when the system treats everyone equally. This goes beyond party politics. In fact, it's an issue that unites people of all backgrounds and beliefs.

  6. Sixteen states agree that corporations are not people: they've passed resolutions supporting an amendment to the Constitution that would overturn Citizens United. Twenty additional states have resolutions pending. You can join us by signing a petition in support of an amendment, check on the status of your state, then make sure your local leaders hear you loud and clear.

  7. After the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, voting rights protections have been rolled back all over the country. One way to counter the influence of the ultra-rich over elections is to protect and expand the right to vote. Urge your representatives to restore these rights by supporting the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015. The VRA always enjoyed enormous bipartisan support, and it can again.

Our elections do not need corporate sponsorship. Power comes from the people, and everyone should have an equal opportunity to participate in our political system. Together, we can get the dough out of politics and ensure once and for all that our country is not for sale.