New Report Card Shows Congress Still Prioritizes Profits Over People
Location: Washington, D.C.
Congress made little progress on corporate accountability in 2015, according to the newly released Corporate Accountability Coalition (CAC) Congressional Report Card.
“Congress must promote responsible business practices and provide incentives for businesses to act in the public interest,” says Marco Simons, General Counsel at EarthRights International, a CAC member. “Congress must ensure that people, not profits, are prioritized.”
This mid-term report marks the fourth edition of the Corporate Accountability Coalition Report Card. Overall Congress made little progress on corporate accountability in 2015, with voting patterns—giving fast track authority for the TPP and almost overriding the presidential veto of the Keystone XL pipeline–showing large support for corporate power.
Over half of congress scored less than 25% and two in five members of Congress did not earn a single point. Points are earned by co-sponsoring or voting for bills that promote accountability and transparency, and voting against bills that promote corporate power.
There were, however, a few promising developments. Some Representatives and Senators received perfect scores, demonstrating leadership and action towards curbing corporate power and prioritizing people over profits. These leaders include Senators Richard Blumenthal (CT),Richard Durbin (IL), Edward Markey (MA), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Jeff Merkley (OR), Patrick Leahy (VT), Bernie Sanders (VT), and Representatives Jon Conyers (MI) and Keith Ellison (MN).
Also, the Truth in Settlements Act and the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act passed the Senate by unanimous consent. These Bills must now be passed by the House, and if a vote occurs in the remainder of the 114th Congress, it will be scored.
There is still time for Congress to improve their corporate accountability record in the remainder of the 114th session. There are a number of important Bills that the Coalition is currently tracking, and we hope to see more members put people before corporations.
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.
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.
EarthRights International (ERI) is a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization that combines the power of law and the power of people in defense of human rights and the environment, which we define as “earth rights.” We specialize in fact-finding, legal actions against perpetrators of earth rights abuses, training grassroots and community leaders, and advocacy campaigns, and have offices in Southeast Asia, the United States and Peru. More information on ERI is available at http://www.earthrights.org.