Press Releases

Timeline of Senator Mitch McConnell’s Hypocrisy on Corporate America’s Role in Politics

Apr 06, 2021

It’s no secret that Senator Mitch McConnell loves corporations. Whether it’s cutting corporate taxes at the expense of middle and working class families or holding COVID relief hostage because of the lack of corporate carve outs, McConnell has been corporate America’s biggest cheerleader. He’s made it his life work to grant corporations unfettered access and influence over our democracy in return for their financial support. But now, with some corporations opposing Republican efforts to erect barriers to voting, McConnell is having a sudden change of heart about their ability to speak out on public matters.

“After decades of advocating for corporate personhood and speech, Senator McConnell now wants corporations silenced if they’re critical of his party. He knows corporations are not people—that’s why he’s so quick to silence them,” said End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller. “He only considers them ‘people’ when cashing their checks and watching their dark money ads in support of his campaign of voter suppression and gridlock.”

Below is a timeline of McConnell’s comments on corporate speech over the last 25 years:

  • “In fact, our country is a seething cauldron of special interests. It is entirely American. It is entirely appropriate. It is exactly what Americans should do, is to ban together to oppose those they don’t like, to support those they do. All of that, of course, should be disclosed and the public should make its own decision.” [Roll Call campaign finance reform forum, 16:55, 1/9/97]

  • “The terms of art bandied about in the reform debate – spending limits, PAC limits, independent expenditure limits, issue advocacy regulations, soft money – are all euphemisms for speech and participation. These are the means by which Americans participate in our democracy.” [Campaign finance reform opposition press conference, 6:16, 3/14/97]

  • “With private interests pushed to the sidelines, the only voices lawmakers could be expected to respond to would be the self-appointed tribunes of the public interest. Private interests would end up with minimal influence on the direction of public policy, and the odds of people running toward public sector solutions would increase dramatically.” [Office of Sen. Mitch McConnell, 6/15/12]

  • “All these efforts are for the purpose of limiting the ability of those engaged in private enterprises – or certain disfavored private groups or associations – to influence the direction of our country by participating in the electoral process. The goal is to hermetically seal off Congress from anyone engaged in the private economy or in certain kinds of advocacy, for that matter, outside the public sector.” [Office of Sen. Mitch McConnell, 6/15/12]

  • “Now, it’s important to remember that one of the things that makes effective the harassment and intimidation tactics I’ve described is their selectivity. There aren’t exactly a lot of folks running to the ramparts to defend oil company executives and hedge fund managers. But we all need to understand something: the minute we allow ourselves to be convinced that some people stand outside the protections of the First Amendment, we’re all in trouble.” [Office of Sen. Mitch McConnell, 6/15/12]

  • “But there’s another element to these efforts that’s less widely understood, but that I believe is essential to understanding why it is that liberals have been working so hard to regulate political speech over the past four decades. It involves the great assumption behind all of their campaign finance efforts: that the collision of private interests with politics is somehow inherently corrupting.” [Office of Sen. Mitch McConnell, 6/15/12]

  • “So all Citizens United did was to level the playing field for corporate speech…We now have, I think, the most free and open system we’ve had in modern times.” [The Nation, 8/26/14]

  • “Our private sector must stop taking cues from the Outrage-Industrial Complex. Americans do not need or want big business to amplify disinformation or react to every manufactured controversy with frantic left-wing signaling…From election law to environmentalism to radical social agendas to the Second Amendment, parts of the private sector keep dabbling in behaving like a woke parallel government. Corporations will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order. Businesses must not use economic blackmail to spread disinformation and push bad ideas that citizens reject at the ballot box.” [Office of Sen. Mitch McConnell, 04/05/21]