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Archive for January 23rd, 2013

W-S council ponders Citizens United resolution

At last night’s meeting, the Winston-Salem City Council directed its government committee to study a resolution calling for the overturn of the Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision, which allowed unlimited independent campaign spending by corporations and unions.

Council member Dan Besse was the strongest voice of caution, especially wording in the resolution that called for a constitutional amendment eliminating corporate personhood:

Among several concerns, Besse has argued that passing a resolution would have no practical effect, and that a Constitutional amendment eliminating corporate personhood – one of the primary objectives of resolution supporters – could have unintended consequences.

“The concept we are being asked to endorse on behalf of the city of Winston-Salem is a US constitutional amendment to make a broad-ranging change in the legal status of all corporations,” Besse wrote in an e-mail to fellow council members, City Manager Lee Garrity and City Attorney Angela Carmon earlier this month. “That change involves key legal implications that go far beyond the campaign finance issues addressed in the Citizens United case.”

Among other legalistic arguments, Besse cited a January 2012 editorial by Jeff Greenfield arguing that depriving corporations of rights of personhood could potentially hurt people who band together through non-profit corporations to make their voices heard.

The resolution is expected to come before the council again in February. Remember the Greensboro City Council passed a resolution calling for the overturn of Citizens United late last year.

Note the comment beneath the Winston-Salem Journal write-up:

Since when is the decision of The Supreme Court City Council business? And why bother with the Citizens United decision when it is obvious that a “Cult Of Personality” trumps money every time.

Pretty much agree, except I’ll counter that the ‘Cult of Personality’ is all about the money, hence the joke that’s being played on all of us right now.

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January 2013
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