Economic Liberties Releases New Paper on Corporate Corruption of Local Economies & Democracy

June 29, 2021 Press Release

Washington, D.C. — As state lawmakers and antitrust enforcers join the growing movement to rein in corporate monopolies, the American Economic Liberties Project today released “None of Our Business? How Corporate Power Corrupts Local Economies and Democracies.” Authored by Economic Liberties’ Pat Garofalo, the paper details how corporations and local elected leaders collude to hide pro-corporate practices and policies from the public, and what local officials and voters can do to bring more accountability to their local government. Its release is coupled with a new op-ed from Garofalo that appears today in The New York Times.

“Corporations, with the consent of state and local officials, take advantage of a slew of policies to extract resources from local communities, harm local businesses, and then hide their actions from the public,” said Pat Garofalo, Director of State and Local Policy at the American Economic Liberties Project. “But there are several steps concerned lawmakers can take — or voters can push for — that will help bring increased transparency and accountability to state and local government.”

“None of Our Business” takes a look at several of these policies, examining how corporations collude with state and local governments to extract resources from local communities and undermine competition while shielding themselves and local elected officials from public accountability. It shows how these policies allow corporations to play elected leaders in different jurisdictions off against each other in order to maximize resource extraction, without the public having an ability to weigh in or activists to provide a counterweight and counter-narrative. And it provides case studies for each kind of policy, suggesting changes that both city councils and state legislators can make to end these abuses, as well as offers model legislation upon which local and state officials can base their efforts.

The paper also illustrates how changing these practices will provide two important benefits to local communities: (1) Enabling them to focus on economic efforts that pay wider dividends and that build more sustainable, inclusive and equitable local economies, and (2) giving voters more say over when and how their local resources are used. It concludes by stressing that it is imperative that these policy recommendations be adopted as part of the broader movement to rein in corporate power and check the growing economic and political power of today’s dominant corporations and that they should be included as part of an overall policy framework aimed at reversing corporate consolidation and reining in corporate power.

To learn more, read Pat Garofalo’s op-ed in The New York Times here.

Read “None of Our Business? How Corporate Power Corrupts Local Economies and Democracies” here.

Learn more about Economic Liberties here.


The American Economic Liberties Project works to ensure America’s system of commerce is structured to advance, rather than undermine, economic liberty, fair commerce, and a secure, inclusive democracy. Economic Liberties believes true economic liberty means entrepreneurs and businesses large and small succeed on the merits of their ideas and hard work; commerce empowers consumers, workers, farmers, and engineers instead of subjecting them to discrimination and abuse from financiers and monopolists; foreign trade arrangements support domestic security and democracy; and wealth is broadly distributed to support equitable political power.