Steve Lavin: corporations are people.

Steve Lavin: would make out with corporations if only they were really people.  Might try anyway.

So the GOP, during the elections, whined and whined about the economy and how they were the ones to fix it (despite being the ones who created the mess in the first place).  So what have they done since then?  A whole lot of abortion and creationism bills.

Steve Lavin, a state Republican in Montana, has broken the trend and introduced a bill that is kind of related to the economy.  The bill would allow corporations, which are apparently people, the right to vote.

Echoing former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s 2011 assertion that “corporations are people, too, my friend,” the law, if enacted, would empower a representative of each company in the district to cast a vote in the company’s interest.

I once had a corporation move in next to me, so I made it some “welcome to the neighborhood” cookies and took them over.  Strangest thing though, the corporation didn’t eat the cookies…the people in the corporation did.  Then they built a house next door on the other side.  I made the house some cookies and took them over but, again, the people inside the house ate them.  The house just kind of sat there being a house, going up in value like real estate tends to do.  If the people in the house don’t get to vote for their house, why do the corporation people get to vote for their corporation?

If corporations are people, why can the corporation not walk down to the ballot office and cast a vote itself?  People don’t just get to start deciding what inanimate objects (or abstract objects) would want if they had, y’know, desires.  Corporations are no more a person than my sofa…which I own.  Can I vote in my sofa’s interest?

Corporations, like families, are made up of people, and the representative who would be voting on behalf of the corporation is already voting in the corporation’s interest when they hit the ballot box.  That person shouldn’t get more say in the government than me just because he runs a corporation and I’m an author.

This legislation would go beyond even the allowances made for corporations and companies to funnel unlimited dark money into elections as per the “Citizens United” decision. Think Progress reported that the bill was tabled by the state legislature almost immediately, so it is unlikely to be voted into law.

Good, but not enough to save Steve Lavin.  He gets to sit in the corner of shame the rest of his political career.  It’s ok though, because he can still be exalted by other Republicans behind the scenes.  And he will be.


Commenter Ken comes in with a metaphorical roundhouse:

I haven’t filed the incorporation papers yet (so my corporation hasn’t technically been born yet and can’t survive on its own), but I have conceived what my corporation will be. I demand a corporate personhood amendment to protect the rights of my corporation!

In fact, I’ve got the beginnings of more then 1000 corporations documented, so I’ll be voting for all of them.

Well played.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Perdurabo

    If corporations are people, are they signed up for selective service like all able-bodied young men must be in the good ‘ol US of A? Can we draft them in times of war? Have they declared their citizenship? Is there such a thing as multinational citizenship, or does that just apply to paying taxes? So many questions…..

  • Ken

    I haven’t filed the incorporation papers yet (so my corporation hasn’t technically been born yet and can’t survive on its own), but I have conceived what my corporation will be. I demand a corporate personhood amendment to protect the rights of my corporation!

    In fact, I’ve got the beginnings of more then 1000 corporations documented, so I’ll be voting for all of them.

    • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com Ubi Dubium

      But now you HAVE to incorporate all of them. All those potential corporate persons must have the same rights as actual corporate persons! And if you insist you have the right not to incorporate them, well you need to undergo an invasive IRS audit procedure and a waiting period first.

      And does dissolving a corporation now count as murder?

      • Ken

        You won’t be able to dissolve a corporation since assisted suicide is still illegal.

  • John Eberhard

    What wonderful possibilities when things made up of people get to vote as a person. Think of all the atheist groups made up of people that would get a vote as a group! Of course,when I think of all the church groups that would apply to, I’m somewhat less excited.

  • Glodson

    With all this concern the GOP has for voter fraud, legally letting a group of people have an additional vote is rather… stupid.

    This is stupid. Now the rich get an extra voice. It is bad enough with the added money.

    It might not ever be law, but it is telling of this man’s thought process. It fits in line with the rest of the GOP thinking. More power for the rich, more concern over entities that have no physical existence than concern over living and breathing people.

  • Charlie

    This is a somewhat related story from close to where I live:
    http://www.autoblog.com/2013/01/12/update-corporations-are-not-people-in-carpool-lanes/

    I believe the proposed Montana legislation is contingent upon owning property. So for example, if a corporation owns a house it is afforded the ability to vote on municipal matters. I would imagine that would be the case if say 2 corporations had joint ownership… wait, but what if 1000 corporations own equal shares of a piece of “property”? I think that is where this gets really dangerous. It allows for unlimited ballot stuffing. Also, what if those American corporations have a majority shareholder that is not in the US? That can also get a little scary.

  • baal

    Making a corp. is pretty easy. The minimum requirements are 1. fill out a short form 91-2 pages typically) 2. pay a fee to to register the corp. Both can be done at your Secretary of State’s office. It’ll probably take you half an hour to figure out the form the first time but it gets faster after that. You will have to observe certain corp. formalities but that can be done in 5-10 minutes 1-2 times a year. The rep from MT’s bill does require the corp to own land so you might have to figure an end run like buying a share in a REIT and giving over that share to the corp.
    “That person shouldn’t get more say in the government than me just because he runs a corporation and I’m an author.”
    Since Bakke famously said money = speech, the rich (as individuals) already have more ability to influence the voting system than most other individuals. This bill is further gilding the lily.

    • Ken

      “The rep from MT’s bill does require the corp to own land”

      So, he’s also bringing back the requirement of owning property as precondition for voting!

  • machintelligence

    I’ll believe corporations are persons when Texas manages to execute one.

  • Stumble

    The upside is that for roughly 1.2 million dollars Obama could have litterly bought the election in this idiots state. Romney won by a 65,000 vita majority, and it costs $20 to register a new cooperation, so ya. The rich will litterly be able to buy elections.

  • Azkyroth

    First step is corporations are people. Second step is people aren’t. I hate being right.


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