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Tuesday, 30 April 2013 10:15

Maine Joins 12 Other States in Officially Supporting an End to Corporate Personhood

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MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

corporateperson100Twelve states are officially backing a constitutional amendment to eliminate corporate personhood, and Maine just became the thirteenth.

According to the Bangor Daily News:

Sen. Richard Woodbury, I-Yarmouth, plans to introduce a resolution Tuesday in the Maine Senate that directs the state’s congressional delegation to support a constitutional amendment that would overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 “Citizens United” opinion equating campaign spending with free speech....

In March, independent U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Democratic U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida introduced a constitutional amendment to overturn “Citizens United.” The proposed amendment would “expressly exclude for-profit corporations from the rights given to natural persons by the Constitution of the United States, prohibit corporate spending in all elections, and affirm the authority of Congress and the states to regulate corporations and to regulate and set limits on all election contributions and expenditures.”

Despite having a Tea Party governor, Maine is one of the leaders in transparent elections and reducing the impact of big money on the political process. However, in 2011, the US Supreme Court gutted a key element of the Maine Clean Election Act.

That is one reason that State Senator Woodbury is eager to see the Supreme Court decision allowing for unlimited campaign spending -- based on a right wing  5-4 majority opinion that corporations have the "First Amendment" campaign funding rights as people -- nullified by a constitutional amendment:

“The ‘Citizens United’ decision has been enormously destructive, to electoral politics specifically, and even more broadly to the effective practice of democracy in America by allowing essentially unlimited spending on elections by corporations and interest groups,” Woodbury said. “It has trivialized the voice and influence of regular voters.”

The evolving hope of freedom is smashed into a farce of democracy when corporations legally buy elected officials with campaign contributions.

Recently, in re-reading a BuzzFlash interview with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. from a few years ago, he said – and we are paraphrasing – communism is when businesses are all owned by the government; fascism is when corporations own the government.

That is something to remember in applauding the efforts, such as in Maine, to legally prohibit the concept of corporations having the rights of individual citizens in elections.

Update: According to the ACLU, the resolution supporting the reversal of Citizens United passed overwhelmingly in the Maine Senate and House on Tuesday afternoon:

Momentum to free elections from corporate influence is growing. This afternoon, Maine became the 13th state to call for a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The resolution passed overwhelmingly with a 25-9 vote in the Senate and a 111-33 vote in the House, which included five Republican supporters in the Senate and 25 in the House.

(Photo: occupyreno_media)