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Local group pushes to end corporate personhood

Photo: Michael Barajas, License: N/A

Michael Barajas

The sentiment outside San Antonio's federal courthouse Friday.

For major local corporate-driven PACs donating directly to federal candidates, the money seems to flow heavily toward the GOP, according to disclosures compiled by Open Secrets. So far this cycle, Valero's PAC has already doled out $233,500 to Republican congressional and senate candidates, as opposed to the $17,500 spent on Democrats, while Tesoro Corp's PAC has given $24,000 to Republicans and $7,000 to Democrats. Nustar's PAC reported a sizable war chest of $373,200 at the end of 2011, according to Open Secrets, with over $53,000 already spent on Republican candidates and another $8,500 donated to Democrats like congressional candidate Joaquin Castro, Laredo-based Congressman Henry Cuellar, and San Antonio Congressman Charlie Gonzalez, who's no longer seeking reelection. Nearly three-quarters of the $330,295 USAA's Employee PAC has donated so far this cycle has gone to Republican candidates jockeying for congressional or U.S. Senate seats. San Antonio-based Clear Channel Communications' PAC spread things more evenly cycle, giving $73,000 to GOP candidates versus $62,5000 to Democrats.

Amid songs, speeches, and kitschy puppet shows outside San Antonio's federal courthouse Friday, Occupy member Chris Kennedy wandered through the crowd, gathering signatures to back a proposed local Council resolution against corporate personhood. "Corporate interests have essentially been able to pump as much money as they want into the system," he said. "How can that not have an effect on our system, on our marketplace of ideas?"

Emblazoned across his clipboard: "Corporate Political $pending will be the Death of Democracy." •

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