Brief Description and Rationale for
LR 2050: An Act to Prohibit a Corporation
from Engaging in Political Speech

Ever since headnotes to an 1886 Supreme Court decision--not the decision itself--referred to corporations as "persons," corporations have been hijacking the rights and privileges that our nation's founders intended to protect human beings. Examples include the right to political speech (corporations even pay to have signatures gathered for so-called "citizen" initiatives and finance campaigns to defeat authentic ones), protection from discrimination, and the right not to incriminate oneself. The truth is that large corporations, with their vast financial leverage and exclusive focus on profits, are just the kind of force that this country's founders wanted to protect human beings against. Granting a corporation the constitutional rights of a person gives it literally superhuman powers and subverts the democratic process. LR 2050, introduced by Rep. Ben Dudley of Portland, will correct this by:

  • reasserting the letter and spirit of Maine's constitution by distinguishing clearly between human "persons" and corporate "entities";
  • prohibiting corporations from usurping the constitutional rights our founders reserved for human beings, including political speech and freedom from self-incrimination;
  • allowing corporations to engage in commercial speech and to testify at public hearings and allowing employees of corporations to exercise their full rights as persons; and
  • opening the way for new legislation to help our communities thrive and to protect Maine's small businesses, workers, consumers, and environment.

Courtesy of Lane Fisher

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