Press Release

RNs Urge Congress to Overturn Court Ruling-"Disastrous Decision for American Workers, Democracy"

For Immediate Release
January 22, 2010

The nation’s largest nurses union today urged Congress to act quickly to reverse the Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited corporate spending in political campaigns, calling it a "disastrous ruling for American workers and American democracy."

“The healthcare debate of the last year has provided a sobering reminder of the already pervasive influence of giant pharmaceutical and insurance corporations. The last thing our democracy and political system needs is even more spending and political sway by the wealthiest interests in this country,” said Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, the 150,000-member organization formed late last year through the unification of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, United American Nurses, and Massachusetts Nurses Association.

DeMoro rejected arguments that the court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission could also benefit unions by removing current campaign limits. "It is ludicrous to think that unions and working people could ever match the spending by multi-billion dollar corporations that hold so much sway in our economic, political, social and cultural institutions."

In the most recent year of public data, she noted, there were 164 publicly traded, for-profit corporations that each made over $1 billion in profits – with an aggregate total of some $554 billion. The top ten alone accounted for $176.7 billion.  "Equating what unions and working people could spend on campaigns would be like comparing a toy boat to an aircraft carrier."

"Corporate influence peddling in politics already distorts and prevents our democracy and political system," DeMoro said.

"Opening the floodgates to unlimited spending is a dangerous prescription for candidates who will be even more beholden to the biggest corporate spenders," DeMoro said. “The likely result would be more dominance of healthcare policy by insurance and drug giants and less of the public oversight of our air, water, food, and workplaces that is needed to protect consumers and workers."