Politicians Wearing Company Logos May Change the Politics-Business Relationship


There’s an amazing petition circulating in California. Created by John Cox, a businessman who’s run for Congress, the Name All Sponsors California Accountability Reform (that’s NASCAR!) would require politicians to wear the logos of their top 10 donor companies and organizations.

There are also petitions floating around the Internet to do things like have the comic-book character Deadpool host Saturday Night Live or deport Donald Trump to Mexico but those petitions aren’t binding. In California, where there are ballot propositions, this could become law. So far, 40,000 signatures have been collected. 365,880 are needed by June 28 to get the petition onto the ballot this fall.

Such extreme transparency would be a plus in government, just as it is in business, where transparency helps build successful companies and increase trust. For example, open-sourcing its employee handbook and HR practices lets outsiders see how Oakland NewCo Clef does business, gives other companies a chance to customize Clef’s work for their own purposes, and enhances Clef’s standing.

There are websites that tell you all about a politician’s donors and voting record but NASCAR is a wonderfully over-the-top idea that doesn’t make people have to wonder where an elected representative’s loyalties lie. Not every donation means a company is buying influence or access, but this makes the connection between fundraising and policy all too clear. Politicians would have to be very conscious about the company they keep. Before we hear a politician’s words, we’d see those logos and know where a politician stands.

It could also be an opportunity for politicians to align themselves with favored brands. A pro-union politician, for example, could send a message by taking money from a company that recently converted contractors to full-time employees. Putting it all out there would also help us understand where the donor company stands. Businesses would have to decide whether they want to be associated publicly with politicians who share their values.

We’ll know in late June whether this proposition gets on the ballot. Some might write it off as a stunt, but don’t we want to live in a world where this level of transparency can happen?

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Photo Credit: California Is Not for Sale

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