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    Citizens United Weighs Heavily On Their Bumpers

    Citizens United Weighs Heavily On Their Bumpers

    The Citizens United case weighs very, very heavily on their minds and their bumpers.

    Spotted in Ithaca today:

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    How was it a slap in the face? The Court 'revisited' precedent to establish that corporate identity is irrelevant. But, corporations are not 'associations of people,' anymore than people who drink Diet Coke is an association of people. Stockholders buy a risk/benefit position. They don't participate in decision making except whether or not to buy. A stockholder is not consulted on how ROI is applied to support a candidate and their election unless the stockholder is on the Board of Directors or has the Board's ear.

    So what we are really talking about is the freedom of a profit-making entity to affect policy for greater profit making, uninformed by conscience or human vulnerability except perhaps that of the Directors and large holders. And the latter express their human view in the formation of speech bankrolled by the ROI on the holdings of smaller, speech-less, stockholders. This corporate speech may or may not reflect the speech preferences of these small holders. A gay investor with money in Target would unlikely choose to support Michelle Bachmann, for example; and yet, Target directed money to a fund that supports Bachmann. Most, if not all, candidates have social as well as economic agendas, making it impossible for a corporation to fully and accurately speak for all stockholders. Stockholders would have to be consulted. That doesn't happen. Except in the case of large stockholders or directors.

    Because corporate identity is irrelevant, so in effect is the national allegiance motivating the political speech. The nationality, national allegiance, etc. of influential large investor is behind a corporate veil: C corp is funded by Y corp. And who knows who owns Y corp. Or, perhaps we are talking about a DE corp that keeps profits out of the US to avoid taxes. As with the largest "American" corporation, General Electric. Be assured, their speech is protected.

    Corporate speech, motivated by agendas that run contrary or even threaten our national interest or (far worse) by human-indifferent interests, is now able to weigh in to the last minute and with a flood of money. And, at the expense of that gay American with Target stock. Why? Because we are protected as market actors first and as citizens second. Finally, it is official: The protections of the United States are first in the service of capitalism and consumerism.

    The slap: I'd be taught and even believed that American citizenship was a stake in something more sublime. Maybe you didn't have that to lose.

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