Chances are you've made up your mind on who you want to see as our next President. But many voters find that, as they make their way down the ballot, the choices are much less clear. It can be difficult to cut through the spin and understand exactly which interests are supporting each candidate or ballot measure.
Here at Crowdpac we aim to provide voters with objective data that will allow them to tune out the propaganda and make their own informed decisions. In that spirit, we've identified a few special interests whose message in support of candidates or propositions is particularly misleading.
Special interests tend to choose bland and generally unobjectionable names for their coalitions, such as "Progressive Alliance" and "Citizens for Prosperity". These are often little more than a disguise - a wolf in sheep's clothing - since these groups know that if word of their association with a given proposition gets out, the chances of the public supporting it are very slim.
Below is a list of groups supporting or opposing a given candidate or proposition, and the organizations who are actually funding them.
California Propositions 65 and 67 - Carry-Out Plastic Bags
Props 65 and 67 are closely related, both dealing with restrictions around the use of plastic grocery bags. Prop 65 stipulates that the revenue from the sale of single-use carry out bags be directed towards environmental conservation. Prop 67 would implement a ban on single-use carry out bags and direct the revenue of recycled bag sales to cover store costs and to education projects.
The key special interest involved in both of these propositions is the mildly named American Progressive Bag Alliance, who supports Prop 65 and opposes Prop 67. Upon closer inspection, it turns out that this Bag Alliance may not be so progressive after all, given that their funding comes exclusively from plastics manufacturers. The APBA's representation of the plastic industry's interests is so evident that their website is literally www.plasticindustry.org/APBA.
California Proposition 56 - Cigarette Tax
Prop 56 seeks to implement a cigarette tax of $2 per pack. In support of the proposition are exactly who you'd expect, such as the California Medical Association, the Dental Association and the American Cancer Society. Opposing the measure is a group named No on 56 - Stop the Special Interest Tax Grab, who has actively pushed an anti-tax message to defeat the proposition. The list of companies funding the group speaks for itself, comprising several leading tobacco manufacturers. Leading the list is Phillip Morris USA.
San Francisco Proposition V - Soda Tax or Grocery Tax?
Chances are, if you live in San Francisco, you've been bludgeoned with ads on Proposition V, whether you call it a tax on soda or groceries. The core of the "yes" argument lies on the fact that this tax would be collected from soda distributors, not their manufacturers or at the point of sale. This, the proposition's opponents argue, would cause the costs to be passed on to the consumer, potentially in the form of increased prices on unrelated items. The proposition would also establish an advisory board to monitor the price of sugary beverages, consumer behavior and public health impact.
They key interests involved in the debate are the Action Now Initiative, an anti-obesity 501c4 organization, in support of Prop V. And the largest opponent of the proposition, who happens to be bankrolling all of the tv ads, is the American Beverage Association. All of the tv ads pushing the grocery tax angle include a line of fine print on the last frame which reads 'With major funding from the American Beverage Association of California PAC'.
While "big soda" may be out of favor with San Franciscans, public appetite for cost-of-living increases are even more universally disliked, possibly to the benefit of the American Beverage Association.