The Case for H.R. 1: Five Victims of Corporate Power Share Their Struggles

WASHINGTON, D.C. March 5, 2019 – Americans continue to be defrauded, killed or saddled with massive debts because of corporate power in America. Public Citizen’s new report “Caught in the Crosshairs of Corporate Power,” tells the stories of five victims, whose experiences show how corporate interests have hijacked our democracy.

The report highlights the need for a sweeping legislative package known as the For the People Act (H.R. 1), which contains important ethics, campaign fi­nance and voting rights reforms including ending dark money contributions, slowing the revolving door between public service and business as well as electoral reforms. The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on H.R. 1 this week.

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“Defrauded students, ripped-off consumers and a mother whose son died because he could not afford the price gouging expense of his insulin. Those are the faces of the people victimized by a corrupt political system that responds to and is dominated by corporations and the superrich,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “The sweeping pro-democracy and anti-corruption measures in H.R.1 would enable our government to work for and protect the people, not the superrich donor class.”

Since President Donald Trump’s election, corporate America has had a field day in Washington, D.C. Regulatory rollbacks and plummeting enforcement against corporate violators are leaving Americans more exposed than ever to for-profit predators.

“What seems initially like help turns out to be nothing but hurt,” said Wayne Wright of Jacksonville, Fla., who spent years trying to get out of debt caused by payday loans. “Unless something happens in your life to break that cycle, you’re stuck.”

The payday lending industry has spent $57 million in lobbying to prevent a federal crackdown on their practices. Under Trump, the payday industry is mounting an intense push to roll back safeguards that would protect consumers such as Wright.

“I have all these intentions of fighting pharma and getting these laws changed,” said Nicole Smith-Holt of Richfield, Minn., whose son died after he was unable to afford his diabetes medication, or health insurance. “But I’m up against billionaires, people who have just millions to throw around. I don’t have that money.” Big Pharma has spent more than $2.7 billion on lobbying over the past 10 years, while health insurers totaled $758 million during the same time.

Read the full report which includes other Americans’ troubling experiences caused by corporate greed and power.