Pedro Morillas is the legislative director for the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG). Morillas joined CALPIRG’s advocacy team in August 2007. Prior to that, for two years Pedro directed citizen outreach offices for CALPIRG in Santa Cruz and San Diego, building citizen support for CALPIRG campaigns to improve drug safety, enact lobby reforms in Congress, and invest in public transit, among others. Since joining the CALPIRG advocacy team Pedro has helped pass consumer protections including legislation to stop some of the worst lending practices that led to the mortgage meltdown. Additionally, Pedro has crafted legislation pending in the California legislature to improve California's budget accountability and transparency.
With the second anniversary approaching of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case – which opened the floodgates to corporate spending on elections – it’s worth a look at whether playing in politics actually pays off for corporate interests. As it so happens, it does.
Between 2008 and 2010 at least thirty US corporations spent more to lobby congress than they paid in federal taxes over the same time period. Clearly, when it comes to politics, corporations really do spend money to make money. In addition to the “Dirty Thirty”, 280 consistently profitable Fortune 500 companies paid about half the statutory corporate tax rate while spending $2 billion to lobby Congress on tax policy and other issues.