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So what does the McCutcheon ruling mean for the minimum wage debate? It’s going to make it that much easier for politicians to ignore the voices and interests of minimum wage workers – and everyone else who doesn’t make it into the elite donor club. Research has already documented that the wealthy have a bigger influence over policy outcomes than average Americans. The McCutcheon decision promises to take this pattern of undue influence and put it on steroids.
McConnell’s financial backing and policy priorities illustrate the challenge. He proved with his argument to the Supreme Court that he’ll go to bat for elite donors like McCutcheon. But when low-wage workers look to make it home with a little more money in their pockets, the NRA, McDonald’s and other heavy hitters from the food and beverage industry know they can count on McConnell to block the plate.
McCutcheon, McConnell and McDonald’s — it’s a triple play against the interests of low-wage workers and it’s threatening to make a mockery of our democracy. That’s why we need, now more than ever, to enact reforms like small-donor public financing to establish that American democracy is a national pastime that belongs to us all, not a collector’s item for sale to the highest bidder.
LeeAnn Hall is the executive director of Community Organizations in Action, a national nonprofit advocacy organization that works with state groups to build campaigns for economic and racial equity. Rahna Epting is deputy executive director of Public Campaign Action Fund, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving America’s campaign finance laws.