We the Corporation…
Since the decision came down in Citizens United, the application of First Amendment rights to the corporate form has been a topic of debate among many. Citizen United has made me painfully aware of the lack of knowledge I possess about the political process and the influences on those processes. I ask myself many questions that I hope to explore in this post and open myself to responses and criticism.
“What’s the bitch?”
I view the corporate structure in America as a controlling influence on governmental policy. Representatives of corporations have always been connected to the White House, Congress, and the political sphere as a whole. The influence of these individuals effect the decisions made by our representatives. Now due to Citizens United the corporation has been extended First Amendment rights from a case that arguably should have been narrowly construed.
Citizen United has now taken the personal representative’s to private influence over political actors and now allows Corporations to use all of their resources to openly support politicians and platforms.
“Does this promote transparency in the corporate form?”
I wonder if this promotes transparency through the corporate shell? Corporations operate with a division between ownership and control. When a corporation uses assets to enter the political speech arena how will the corporation’s shareholders respond? Since a corporation’s purpose is to maximize shareholder profits, will the courts uphold the corporation’s reasoning that supporting a political candidate(s) is in the furtherance of the corporate interests?
“The Court in disguise”
The Supreme Court did not want to place restrictions on the corporate form. In turn, the Court approved the largest expansion of the corporate form since corporations were considered a person. The Court has placed their duty on the American people, the law community, and the States. The laboratories are open. Lawyers are buzzing. The American people are the moral compass. Lawsuits will come and after several years of fighting over Citizens the Court will finally rule on the restrictions that should have been placed on the corporation at the time of Citizens.
I remember a quote from a history class I took as an undergrad, “What’s good for GM is good for America.” Corporate America has grown stronger over the years at the consent of the Supreme Court. Corporations bind the world through an economic system and banks with global ambitions fund them. The banks supply the money, the corporations supply the mechanism, and the political sphere provides the protection. Since the ruling in Citizens the corporation now can openly advocate for its protectors and use its assets and shareholders, the American people, to do it.
“Removing the veil”
Personally, Citizens United has brought light to an area of neglected thought. How involved is the corporation in our daily lives? What type of information will be disseminated in to the populace? Will we keep a skeptical eye? What form will the corporation take to hide its agendas?
We are constantly bombarded with information. It’s time we removed the veil and paid attention to the information we are receiving and why.