Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to Free Democracy From Corporate Control

Passed by Albany City Council February 6, 2012

RESOLUTION NO. 2012-8

A RESOLUTION OF THE ALBANY CITY COUNCIL CALLING FOR AN AMENDMENT TO THE U.S. CONSTITUTION TO FREE DEMOCRACY FROM CORPORATE CONTROL

WHEREAS , the U.S. Supreme Court has granted corporations personhood status, free speech and other protections guaranteed to living humans by the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment, yet historically corporations were created as artificial entities that were subordinate to our democracy, the City of Albany, California asserts that corporations are not natural persons with human rights but artificial entities created by our government; and

WHEREAS , although corporations have made important contributions to society, they may exist simultaneously in many nations, use court granted “corporate rights” to get laws and regulations that protect people weakened or overturned, put profit ahead of any other concern, and use money derived from consumers and employees to lobby for statutes that endanger democracy, human values, and ecological survival; and

WHEREAS , the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission further threatens our democracy by rolling back limits on corporate spending in electoral campaigns, allowing corporate money to drown out the voices of “We the People”; and

WHEREAS , U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy stated that the ruling “will allow major corporations – who should have law written to control their effect on America – to instead control America;” and former Republican senator Warren Rudman wrote, “Supreme Court opinion notwithstanding, corporations are not defined as people under the Constitution, and free speech can hardly be called free when only the rich are heard;” and former Senator Chris Dodd pointed out that “money is not speech,” that “corporations are not people” and that “a constitutional amendment is necessary to fully restore the trust and voice of the American people.”

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED , that the Albany City Council calls for freeing democracy from corporate control by calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to establish that: 1. Money is not speech, and 2. Corporations are not natural persons and not entitled to constitutional rights.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED , that the Albany City Council requests that our appropriate elected representatives introduce and/or support a constitutional amendment that contains both of these principles, or introduce motions to include these principles in related constitutional amendments.