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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

"Foreign" Corporations In US Politics

Category: Legislation
Posted: 08/15/11 13:19, Edited: 08/15/11 13:35

by Dave Mindeman

Here is something I don't quite get...

Despite a recent Supreme Court decision that eases restraints on the use of corporate money in U.S. elections, it is still illegal for a foreign national to make a contribution to a candidate in a federal, state or local election. And the term "foreign national" includes foreign corporations. A "foreign national" is a foreign government, political party, corporation, association or partnership, or a person with foreign citizenship who does not have a green card (permission from the U.S. government to reside here permanently).

A foreign corporation is not allowed to make political contributions in the US. OK - anybody who saw 60 Minutes last Sunday should be asking the question. If you renounce US status for your corporation in order to avoid US corporate taxes, and you establish your main office in Zug, Switzerland....then why is it legal for you to contribute political money to US races?

Simple question. Anyone have the answer to that?

As the report pointed out:

The population of the town of Zug is 26,000; the number of companies in the area is 30,000 and growing at an average rate of 800 a year. But many are no more than mailboxes.

It can be argued that US corporate taxes force that kind of decision about their citizenship status....a legitimate argument.

But if a company makes that decision to renounce its US affiliation to escape US taxes, then their ability to contribute to political campaigns should be eliminated as well.

They shouldn't have it both ways.
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Ticket Scalpers (and the Rich) Get Another Break

Category: Legislation
Posted: 03/09/11 18:32

by Dave Mindeman

I have a strange topic here. Ticket scalping.

Before I get into the particulars, let me tell you about something that happened to me last year.

I purchased a 20 game season ticket package from the Twins for the 2010 season (I have one for 2011 as well). They sent me the physical tickets for those games in March of last year. They encouraged me to explore my account on their website which informed me that I had an automatic StubHub account for resale of the tickets. I learned to navigate my way around the site and as time went by and demand for Twins tickets grew, I found that I could sell a few of my ticket on the StubHub site for more than I paid for them. StubHub would take my ticket number and turn it into an e-ticket for transfer to the buyer. I didn't have to send the buyer anything, it was handled by StubHub. A nice little bonus.

OK - bear with me. I gave 3 of my tickets to a charity auction for my son's school. The bidding for the tickets (silent auction) was brisk and turned out to be more than face value. The tickets were for a game in the middle of the summer. The physical tickets were in the hands of the bidder, but the tickets stay in the StubHub account until removed or voided by me. As I have confessed many times, my techiness sucks....so I did not get the tickets voided.

Alright, you may see where this is going. I forgot to note the auction sale on my calendar and as the season went on, I forgot about the sale as well. I ended up selling the same tickets on line via the e-ticket method on StubHub. That voided the actual paper ticket and to my mortification, the Twins called me to ask what was going on.

Of course, the light bulb (not incandescent) went off in my head and I began to apologize to everyone I could find. I tracked down the purchaser of the tickets at the silent auction and proceeded to apologize profusely. I paid him his money back and also gave him 3 other tickets for a future game. (He managed to get into the original game by purchasing some other tickets that were available). He was very gracious about it and told me I was being excessively generous in my remuneration -- but I insisted on the exchange for my own peace of mind.

I tell this story because of a bill that has passed out of committee in the legislature that is going to ease e-ticket exchanges. Now, in reality, what happened to me is not applicable in this law -- hard to legislate against stupidity. However, easing the restrictions on e-tickets will only benefit scalpers. High demand tickets will be transferred pretty freely, but the average Joe and Jane will not get the benefit. Scalpers will have more opportunities to buy and sell those type of tickets at a greater profit.

A lot of artists, (Bruce Springsteen most notably) do not like this bill. They want to be able to restrict some of their tickets to make sure they are available to average fans at the regular price.

Tickets are rapidly becoming a luxury for the rich.

But then, what else is new?
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