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PNS Daily Newscast - August 14, 2020 

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New Poll Shows Rising Voter Concern about Ethics

July 23, 2007

A new national poll finds a growing public concern about corporate ethics and government oversight. It concludes that the issue could play a role in next year's elections. Diane O'Brien, spokeswoman for Minnesota AFL-CIO reacts.

"Folks are worried about misconduct. And, about government-corporate relationships - the lack of oversight. And, for a culture that appears to be run, not by and for the people, but by and for corporations."

She notes the concerns include corporate salaries compared to worker earnings, outsourcing of jobs, and companies backtracking on promised pension plans. Corporations say they do what's needed, legally, to compete in an international economy. The poll shows the perception of economic unfairness could have implications for next year's presidential, congressional and state elections.

O'Brien thinks there are plenty of examples of Minnesota corporations not keeping promises.

"Steel companies up on the Iron Range were declaring 'strategic bankruptcy' not too long ago. And, part of the reason for that was they could then walk away from their obligations to retirees. They could reconstitute themselves with different names. And, come back in, having shed those responsibilities."

She gives Northwest Airlines as another example and notes that pilots and baggage handlers have had salaries cut while the Chief Executive Officer got a $23 million bonus. O'Brien adds that the poll finds most Americans believe corporations put profit ahead of the public interest.

O'Brien thinks the poll results aren't anti-corporate, just pro-fairness and ethics.

"We need a government that thinks that it's important to control corporations, that it's important to regulate them. We've seen a systematic rolling back of any regulation, and of any consequences for violating those regulations. We need to reinstitute regulations of corporate behavior. We need to enforce them. And, we need to elect people who value regulating corporate misbehavior."

The poll results are online at

Jim Wishner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - MN