Jeff Merkley on Corporations

Democratic Jr Senator (OR)

Hard look at abusive practices in the credit card industry

Congress should take a hard look at abusive practices of some in the credit card industry. Limiting bait-and-switch marketing, requiring the disclosure of the true-cost of making minimum payments, and restoring the 10-day grace periods that used to be standard in credit agreements are all ways to guarantee families are on an even playing field when it comes to their finances.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.jeffmerkley.com, “Issues” , Jun 3, 2008

Ban the predatory practices of the mortgage lenders

Among mortgage lenders, prepayment penalties and excessive fees have become the norm for extracting more and more hard earned cash out of consumers. States have led the way on trying to protect families from losing their most important asset --their home; it is now time for Congress move in that direction too, banning those practices when they cross the line from legitimate transactions into predatory practices.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.jeffmerkley.com, “Issues” , Jun 3, 2008

Capped payday loan rates

Jeff was the chief sponsor of House Bill 2871, which imposes an interest rate cap of about 36 percent on state-regulated consumer loans in Oregon. It protects borrowers of the short-term payday and car title loans in Oregon. Prior to this legislation, Oregon was one of only 16 states that did not cap interest rates on consumer loans. Since the legislature lifted the usury cap in 1981, predatory lenders have flourished, charging rates on consumer loans that have at times exceeded 500 percent.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.jeffmerkley.com, “Issues” , Jun 3, 2008

Capped the amount check cashers can charge

Left unchecked, some lenders have devised other methods of bleeding family finances. They have found creative ways around Oregon law, charging high interest rates and excessive fees. So under Jeff’s leadership, the legislature put a stop to it. They capped the amount check cashers can charge; made sure loans made by internet, phone, and mail were subject to the same usury laws as bricks-and-mortar lenders; and capped the interest rate on loans that use car titles as collateral.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.jeffmerkley.com, “Issues” , Jun 3, 2008

No approval if a borrower can’t afford the loan

Too many American families have lost their homes in the recent housing market collapse for Congress to stand by and do nothing. Big lenders like Countrywide locked homebuyers into loans they couldn’t afford, refused to help families refinance, and then skipped town when the bubble burst. That’s no way to build a strong economy and it is no way to put families on sound financial footing. The principle is simple, if a borrower can’t afford the loan, the underwriter should not approve them.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.jeffmerkley.com, “Issues” , Jun 3, 2008

End billion dollar giveaways to oil companies

When oil companies were reporting historic profits and the price of gas was squeezing families and businesses, Gordon Smith voted in favor of providing billions of taxpayer dollars to pad big oil’s bottom line. Merkley will work to repeal more than $18 billion in tax breaks given to big oil companies and invest those funds in creating new green-collar clean energy jobs with good wages.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.jeffmerkley.com, “Issues” , Jun 3, 2008

Stop companies from setting up offshore tax shelters

We can take steps here at home to make sure all corporations are pitching in with their fair share by reforming the tax code to stop companies from setting up tax shelters in Bermuda in order to avoid paying their fair share in taxes. Gordon Smith continually supports allowing companies to shelter their assets in offshore accounts, rather than making them pay their fair share like the rest of us do.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.jeffmerkley.com, “Issues” , Jun 3, 2008

Rated 86% by UFCW, indicating an anti-management/pro-labor record.

Merkley scores 86% by UFCW on labor-management issues

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) is North America's Neighborhood Union--1.3 million members with UFCW locals in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Canada. Our members work in supermarkets, drug stores, retail stores, meatpacking and meat processing plants, food processing plants, and manufacturing workers who make everything from fertilizer to shoes. We number over 60,000 strong with 25,000 workers in chemical production and 20,000 who work in garment and textile industries.

    The UFCW Senate scorecard is based on these key votes:
  1. American Jobs Act (+)
  2. Balanced Budget Amendment (-)
  3. Rejecting Cut, Cap, and Balance (+)
  4. Repeal Health Care Law (-)
  5. Sen. Am. 14 Wicker Am. to S 223, excluding unionization at TSA (-)
  6. Sen. Am. 740 McCain Am. to HR 2112, defunding TAA (-)
  7. Trade Adjustment Assistance Extension Act (TAA) (+)
Source: UFCW website 12-UFCW-S on May 2, 2012

Corporate political spending is not free speech.

Merkley signed Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United

Constitutional Amendment

  1. Whereas the right to vote in public elections belongs only to natural persons, so shall the ability to make contributions and expenditures to influence the outcome of public elections belong only to natural persons.
  2. Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to restrict the power of Congress and the States to protect the integrity and fairness of the electoral process, limit the corrupting influence of private wealth in public elections, and guarantee the dependence of elected officials on the people alone by taking actions which may include the establishment of systems of public financing for elections, or the imposition of requirements to ensure the disclosure of [election] contributions and expenditures.
  3. Nothing in this Article shall be construed to alter the freedom of the press.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:[Supreme Court majority opinion in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, for which the Constitutional Amendment is proposed as a remedy. The FEC had ruled that the movie "Hillary", released in 2008 to persuade voters against Hillary Clinton, was illegal because it was a disguised campaign contribution made by a corporation. The Supreme Court overruled the FEC]:

Modern day movies might portray public officials in unflattering ways. Yet if a covered transmission [is broadcast] during the blackout period, a felony occurs solely because a corporation, [instead of a candidate or donors, paid] in order to engage in political speech. Speech would be suppressed in the realm where its necessity is most evident: in the public dialogue preceding a real election. Governments are often hostile to speech, but it seems stranger than fiction for our Government to make this political speech a crime. Some members of the public might consider Hillary to be insightful and instructive; some might find it to be [unfair]; those assessments, however, are not for the Government to make.

Source: H.J.RES.34 / S.J.RES.11 14_SJR11 on Mar 13, 2013

Other candidates on Corporations: Jeff Merkley on other issues:
OR Gubernatorial:
John Kitzhaber
OR Senatorial:
Jason Conger
Monica Wehby
Ron Wyden

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Page last updated: Jan 02, 2015