Sarah C. Haan


Voters increasingly view their consumer activities, not their campaign contributions, as the most meaningful way to participate in politics. In 2014, after it became public that Mozilla’s CEO, Brendan Eich, had made a controversial political donation in a state ballot proposition, consumer pressure led to his resignation. Eich’s downfall and the politicization of retail markets means that business leaders are unlikely to respond to McCutcheon v. FEC by embracing transparency with their campaign donations, and also suggests that campaign finance deregulation is causing hydraulic effects that the Supreme Court has failed to anticipate. This Essay explores what “economic reprisal” means for business leaders—a significant segment of the so-called “donor class”—when consumers vote at the cash register.