Lawmakers: Corporations are not people:

Lawmakers: Corporations are not people
Seek to stop unlimited corporate money in politics

Updated: Friday, 16 Dec 2011, 9:26 PM EST
Published : Friday, 16 Dec 2011, 7:02 PM EST

Christine Lee, 22News State House Correspondent

Boston, Mass. (WWLP) – A grassroots movement is simmering in State Houses across the nation – Beckoning Congress to pass a constitutional amendment that affirms freedom of speech rights to people, not corporations.

“People, not corporations, govern in America. And it’s we the people, not we the corporations,” said Maram Abdelhamid, the national field director at Free Speech for People. “We hope that Massachusetts will be one of the first state’s to pass a resolution instructing Congress that corporations are not people.”

Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) has filed a resolution in Massachusetts to support a constitutional amendment. He has also filed bills that require corporations to disclose and get internal approval for their political spending.

“Next year with the presidential election, with the U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts, you’re going to see more and more corporations that can spend millions of dollars to take out ads with absolutely no disclosure on where that money’s coming from and that could really drown out the voices or ordinary citizens,” said Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton).

In November, Congressman James McGovern proposed the constitutional amendment to Congress. It effectively trumps a Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. FEC, from allowing corporations to spend unlimited corporate money on political campaigns.

But some Republican lawmakers are on the fence — “It’s a slippery slope if we start to try to restrain first amendment rights under any legal entity in the United States,” said Sen. Robert Hedlund (R-Hingham), who is conflicted between balancing free speech rights with what he perceives to be the corrupting influence of corporate money in politics. “I don’t like the influence of money in politics, it’s horrible, especially in the national level. It’s a corrupting influence.”

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