Last year a federal judge found oil giant BP acted with "profit-driven decisions" that amounted to "gross negligence" resulting in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Currently the corporation is in court arguing over the billions in fines it owes in Clean Water Act violations on top of a $4 billion fine it already paid the federal government stemming from criminal charges.
Despite that, BP found a way to come up with nearly $5 million to spend on lobbying and campaign contributions in 2014. In 2013 it spent more than $8 million.
Yesterday Rep. Keith Ellison introduced a bill that would bar "criminal corporations" like BP from political spending for six years after being convicted of any felony involving dishonesty, breach of trust, or defrauding the United States government.
In a news release Ellison said the Protect Democracy from Criminal Corporations Act was a way to combat influence corporations gained after the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision in 2010, which effectively allowed corporations to spend unlimited money on political causes.
"Until we restore the power to people and reverse the decision in Citizens United, companies that break the law shouldn't be allowed to flood our democracy with dirty money," Ellison wrote.
When we reached out to his office yesterday they would only comment on background regarding the new bill.
A search of Ellison's top donors did not reveal any major contributions from so-called criminal corporations. Throughout his career he has been backed mostly by unions and law firms.
Read the bill for yourself below:
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