U.S. Congress Did Less for Corporate Accountability in 2013

The U.S. Congress saw no progresses toward corporate accountability
and reining in corporate influence over public institutions in 2013,
according to the newly released Corporate Accountability Coalition (CAC) Congressional Report Card.
The second edition of the Report Card, which looks at the First Session
of the 113th Congress, focuses on the most relevant congressional
activity, and offers an objective measure of congressional leadership in
creating policy that protects people and promotes accountability and
transparency.

CAC's Report Card includes some alarming new
findings, such as that in 2013 not a single pro-accountability bill even
made it to a vote. Despite the fact that high-profile corporate
malfeasance, from the financial crisis to the Deepwater Horizon spill to
the Rana Plaza disaster, continues to make headlines, many legislative
actions to address important issues regarding corporate responsibility
and necessary limitations on corporate power garnered little, if any,
co-sponsorship.

Surveys have consistently shown concerns with
unchecked corporate influence. In 2013, a Pew Research poll showed that
80% of middle class adults at least partially blamed large corporations
for the difficulties facing the middle class, consistent with earlier
surveys finding that overwhelming majorities of Americans believe that
corporations have too much power in Washington and that there is too
much corporate money in politics.

"As the Supreme Court continues
to privilege corporate rights over human rights, our elected leaders
must stand and protect what's left of the democratic freedoms that
benefit all American citizens, not just the powerful elites." said Katie
Redford, Director and Co-Founder of CAC member EarthRights International.

Only
two representatives and seven senators received a perfect score:
Representatives John Conyers (MI) and Keith Ellison (MN) and Senators Ed
Markey (MA), Bob Menendez (NJ), Jeff Merkley (OR), Jeanne Shaheen (NH).
Tom Udall (NM), Elizabeth Warren (MA), and Richard Blumenthal (CT).

Several
states, however, had entire delegations with zero percent scores,
including Wyoming, Arkansas, Idaho, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Utah,
and West Virginia. Less than 10 percent of Congress scored above 50
percent, while three-quarters of Congress earned a score of 25 percent
or less. The average score for Congress even worsened between 2012 and
2013: the average score was only 16 percent down from 25 percent in
2012.

"The Report Card reveals a dangerous reality: corporations
exert tremendous influence over our elected officials. The consequences
of this influence perpetuate the paradigm of profit over people, and
leave us struggling to build meaningful protections for both our
environment and our basic human rights," says Amol Mehra, Director of
the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable, a CAC member.

About the Report Card

The Corporate Accountability Coalition Report Card
represents an attempt to educate the public about Congress's record in
protecting people from the unchecked growth of corporate influence.

The
Report Card presents information on whether Members of Congress have
supported measures that either strengthen or weaken limits on corporate
conduct, regulate or give free rein to corporations when they attempt to
go beyond those limits, and hold corporations accountable or provide
impunity when they disregard those limits.

"The intent of this
report card is to track how Congress votes on holding corporations
accountable for their impact on communities and the environment," said
Pratap Chatterjee, Executive Director of CorpWatch. "The Corporate
Accountability Coalition believes that good laws can help level the
playing field by cracking down on corporations who benefit from
wrongdoing."

The full report is available online at https://www.earthrights.org/cac-report-card

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Katie Redfrod (USA) +1 202-466-5188 x102 katie@earthrights.org
Marco Simons (USA) +1 202-466-5188 x103 marco@earthrights.org
Amol Mehra, (USA) +1 202-296-0146 amol@accountabilityroundtable.org

About
the Corporate Accountability Coalition: The Corporate Accountability
Coalition is a collaboration of the Center for Corporate Policy,
Corporate Accountability International, CorpWatch, EarthRights
International, the Institute for Policy Studies and the International
Corporate Accountability Roundtable.

AMP Section Name:Money & Politics
  • 208 Regulation