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Corporations erode power of real free speech | Letter
According to your recent article on “Corporations are not people,” Councilmembers Penny Sweet and Toby Nixon voted against a resolution stating corporations are not persons for the purposes of regulating elections.
You further note that Nixon argues “freedom of assembly” is a basis for corporate citizenship, stating “It is the people who make up a corporation who are doing their rights.”
It would seem obvious that most employees, who are paid to be assembled into a corporation, are not expecting to influence their employer’s political views, nor in any way to “petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
Working in a corporation is a commercial contract; it is not voluntary assembly for political activism. I seriously doubt corporate employees are expecting their political rights be forfeited to the corporation. That would require an alternative political system.
For-profit corporations have the one responsibility to make a profit. As such they desire influence over government decisions that affect them. In a truly competitive free market, excess influence would be somewhat limited as market competitors demand fair play.
Yet, in today’s markets of finance, communications, media, entertainment and energy we have massively consolidated industries that are too big to fail and now, apparently, too big to prosecute. These industries are able to bring extreme resources into election campaigns, not without the insignificant strategic help of questionable nonprofit corporations.
They have been able to greatly influence the creation, enforcement and judgment of laws affecting their industries; whether to stifle competition, create favorable tax loopholes, loosen environmental laws at the peril of human citizens and even expand the definition of nonprofit corporations for their clandestine electioneering – while also limiting media attention upon their favored status – just to mention a few examples.
It is my contention that these well-financed entities, controlling much of the medium and the message, have filtered and stove-piped convoluted interpretations of our Constitution (despite its concise wording) through the few mass media channels of information currently existing in our country, thereby trying to make the absurd credible.
This twisted logic demeans the integrity of every citizen who walks into a city council meeting expecting to be heard by their representatives as opposed to corporate-sponsored representatives – and seriously erodes the real power of FREE speech.
Daniel B. Wilson, Kirkland