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DFLers want U.S. constitutional amendment declaring that corporations aren’t people, after all

It’s not only Republicans looking for constitutional amendments these days.

DFLers in the Minnesota House and Senate have introduced bills asking Congress to call a constitutional convention to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would clarify that corporations are not people.

There’s been much consternation on this point, particularly after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a corporate political spending case that corporations have a First Amendment right to free speech.

The bill introduced by DFLers wants the constitutional amendment to say:

  • (1) The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.
  • (2) Artificial entities, such as corporations, limited liability companies, and others established by the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the people, through federal, state, or local law.
  • (3) The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the people, through federal, state, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.
  • (4) Federal, state, and local government shall regulate, limit or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures, for the purpose of influencing in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.
  • (5) Federal, state, and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.
  • (6) The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.
  • (7) Nothing contained in this amendment shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.

In the state House, the bill was introduced and referred to committee.

Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Rod Loper on 04/23/2012 - 01:21 pm.

    Long overdue

    Lots of luck at getting a hearing on this with our corporatist legislature.

  2. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 04/23/2012 - 01:52 pm.


    Good luck with that.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/23/2012 - 04:00 pm.

      You’re right

      ALEC would never allow it, and we know the Republicans in the Legislature are incapable of disobeying their overlords.

  3. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 04/23/2012 - 04:21 pm.

    They went overboard again

    Should have left it at #1 and #6 only.

    Even if they did, the class of entities they seek to restrain virtually OWN – i.e., have bought and paid for – so many Senators and Congresspersons, there is virtually no chance of passage.

    Once the rot has gotten all the way to the core, you can’t fix it. Gotta start all over.

  4. Submitted by Bill Kellett on 04/23/2012 - 06:28 pm.


    Regulating corporations, what heresy is this? Stop making sense, nobody’s listening.

  5. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 04/23/2012 - 09:33 pm.

    The Proposed Amendment

    Would save this country from becoming the corporate oligarchy toward which we are quite rapidly racing.

    Sadly, I’m forced to agree with others: our congress is currently so completely owned by big money interests that such an amendment has zero chance of passage.

    That and, of course, our national and local media are so busy gorging themselves at the unlimited spending money-filled trough provided them by the “Citizens United” ruling that they will likely do everything in their power to label such an amendment a “war on freedom” or some other completely false and disingenuous talking point,…

    and do everything in their power to defeat it, because, of course, the vast majority of our media is every bit as “owned” by big money as congress.

  6. Submitted by Randall Stevens on 04/24/2012 - 01:02 am.

    The problem isn’t money in elections

    The problem with our elections isn’t that corporations can donate money to candidates, it’s that voters are ignorant and money actually helps. If voters actually paid attention to candidates’ records and which ones were honest, it wouldn’t matter how many millions of dollars dishonest politicians like Obama or Romney spent on substanceless ads.

  7. Submitted by mark wallek on 04/24/2012 - 10:41 am.

    Great idea

    This should go thru swiftly, but will likely die an ignoble death at the hands of some pol whose pockets are filled by the corporate trash.

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