Tell the CBC: Corporations Don't Speak for Black People
The Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee is a Washington, DC-based group that claims to speak for Black people but is really a mouthpiece for corporate power. For decades the Congressional Black Caucus has been known as the 'Conscience of the Congress.' Representing the interests of Black communities across the country, the CBC has often pushed the country in the direction of equality and inclusion. Sadly, that reputation for moral leadership has been tainted by the work of the CBC Political Action Committee (CBC PAC) and its board dominated by corporate lobbyists.
Although it bares the name of the Congressional Black Caucus, the CBC PAC’s 21-member board only includes 8 of the 46 Black Caucus members. Shockingly, the majority of the board is made up of lobbyists representing various corporate interests. In addition, a large portion of the PAC’s funding comes from corporate lobbyists and political action committees. However, when the CBC PAC announces endorsements or other news, it has recently been reported as coming from the Congressional Black Caucus, allowing corporate power to masquerade as an institution representing the interests of Black people.
The lobbyists funding and sitting on the CBCPAC’s board represent companies that are notorious for mistreatment and exploitation of Black people, including private prisons, big tobacco, and the anti-worker companies that make up the National Restaurant Association. With so many issues facing Black communities, we can’t afford for our most powerful Black politicians to be in bed with businesses that are damaging to the well-being and financial state of Black people.
Black people and our allies in the fight for racial justice are in an unprecedented moment where we are building power and holding elected officials and candidates accountable in very real ways. Whether it be protesters in the streets, online activism or Black voters turning out in historic numbers in recent elections, Black folks are speaking clearly and using our voices to call for change but corporate forces are trying to invade our political institutions and drown out the voices of the people.
Join us in demanding that the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee remake their board to reflect CBC leadership and cut ties with corporations that do harm to Black people, including private prison lobbyists, big tobacco, and the National Restaurant Association.
Below is the letter we will send to members of the Congressional Black Caucus on your behalf.
Dear Congressional Black Caucus Member,
I am writing to ask you to take action to restore the reputation of the Congressional Black Caucus by pushing for changes to the board of the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee that would end the dominance of corporate lobbyists in its decision making. The board should be led by people accountable to Black folks, including elected officials and representatives from organizations representing the interests of Black people, not lobbyists paid to wield corporate power. I'm also asking you to insist that the board cut ties with the private prison lobbyists, the tobacco industry, and the National Restaurant Association, just three of the worst corporate sponsors of the PAC.
Black people have struggled for centuries to build political power that represents their interests in the face of deep racial inequalities. One of the most challenging obstacles to Black political power has been the increasing power that corporations wield in the political process through political contributions and lobbying. I was appalled to learn that the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee (CBC PAC) is yet another example of the expansion of corporate power at the expense of Black people.
Although its name indicates that the CBC PAC is lead by elected Black leaders, its board is dominated by corporate lobbyists. In addition, the CBC PAC is largely funded by corporate lobbyists and Political Action Committees. Between donors and board members, the committee is under the influence of some of the companies and industries with the worst track records of abuse and exploitation of Black people.
As you know, the Congressional Black Caucus has been known as the 'Conscience of the Congress' for decades. When it represents the interests of Black communities, it can be a moral force driving the nation in the direction on inclusion and equality. However, with its political action committee under corporate influence, it becomes a shell for business interests that have no commitment to Black folks.
Please act now to rally your colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus to end the the corporate dominance of the CBC PAC board.