[FoRK] Justice Defends Ruling on Finance

John Parsons bullwinklemouth at yahoo.ca
Thu Feb 4 20:02:36 PST 2010

--- On Thu, 2/4/10, Damien Morton <dmorton at bitfurnace.com> wrote:

> http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/04/us/politics/04scotus.html?hp
> """
> Justice Thomas said the First Amendment’s protections
> applied regardless of
> how people chose to assemble to participate in the
> political process.
> “If 10 of you got together and decided to speak, just as
> a group, you’d say
> you have First Amendment rights to speak and the First
> Amendment right of
> association,” he said. “If you all then formed a
> partnership to speak, you’d
> say we still have that First Amendment right to speak and
> of association.”
> “But what if you put yourself in a corporate form?”
> Justice Thomas asked,
> suggesting that the answer must be the same.
> """
> This is just so fucking wrong. Corporations are nothing
> like 10 people
> coming together to form a partnership to speak.
> Its one or more owners, who can now use the corporation's
> finances and
> employees to amplify their speech.

Even if corporations *are* like 10 (or whatever) people for the purposes
of association and speech, I still don't see why this should allow them
the ability to contribute and thus influence political outcomes. They do
not have a vote, per se, so why should they have the ability to meddle in
that vote? If one person = one vote, is to mean anything, then any 
non-essential, extraneous noise can only be distracting.

People have basic needs of governance which will motivate their choices,
but corporations tend to act at a level independent of the public good.
Please note, I am not saying they (always) act against the public good,
but that their motivations are not necessarily aligned with individual
values. If corporations were really acting in the public good, why not take
the enormous sums spent on political contributions and send it directly
to individuals?

Action committees, special interest groups and the like can at least claim
that their "speech" is a result of free association, but a corporation
cannot claim that they represent voters who are "freely associating".
Their money comes from customers that may not share the corporations goals
(for a number of easily identified reasons). Corporate money is earned
with the help of those "10" (or more) employees, whose only motivation may
be to provide for their families, not to support the corporation's
political aspirations. 

Anyway, it seems that independent of the Supremes' decision, the tables
are already turning, big time. With the caps removed, it can only become
more skewed.


Can anyone believe that 150 million/year of corporate funding is not an
investment that the corporations expect to recoup?


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