City Council: Corporations Are Not People

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The New York City Council passed a resolution today opposing the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which gave corporations the same First Amendment rights as human beings.

But don’t tell Mitt Romney.

Citizens United didn’t just line up with Romney’s views on personhood, it also helped him win his narrow Iowa caucus victory this week.  The pro-Romney political action committee Restore Our Future — a so-called super PAC — spent $2.8 million on ads supporting the candidate in the state.  That was nearly twice what the Romney campaign spent on its own. 

Technically independent from the campaigns, super PACs can raise unlimited funds and do not have to disclose donors, thanks to the Citizens United ruling.

 But all of this “corporations are people too” business could come back to bite Romney.  A pro-Newt Gingrich super PAC — Winning Our Future — said it is planning to start running ads attacking Romney in New Hampshire and South Carolina.  And no, this isn’t just a GOP thing.  The pro-Obama super PAC, Priorities USA Action, is planning on spending $100 million on ads supporting the president.

 Just normal “people” exercising their First Amendment rights like all the rest of us.

 The New York City Council’s Progressive Caucus said in a statement today:

 “We believe that corporations should not share the same rights as people, that unlimited and unreported corporate donations meant to sway the electoral process should not be considered freedom of speech, and that the government should regulate the raising and spending of money by corporations intended to influence elections.”

The City of Los Angeles recently passed a similar bill. Of course, city council resolutions condemning Supreme Court rulings can’t change the policy at all, but it does show that some people who hold elected office see a difference between people and corporations, and are not excited about the unprecedented deluge of negative advertising that is about to flood us.