Dayton commissioners support amending the U.S. Constitution to declare corporations are not people.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in the case Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission ruled in favor of corporate personhood and struck down limits on spending by corporations in elections.
The majority of justices ruled that corporations have many of the same legal rights and protections as individuals, such as free speech.
The decision was criticized by some who said money is not free speech and the lack of restrictions on corporate spending in elections is a threat to democracy.
On Wednesday, commissioners approved an informal resolution stating the city’s support of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution eliminating the legal notion of corporate personhood.
The resolution states that unrestricted corporate spending creates an “unequal playing field” that gives wealthy people and corporations an unfair advantage to influence elections and the political process.
Commissioners adopted the resolution at the request of Greater Dayton Move to Amend, a local affiliate of a national organization that seeks to end corporate personhood.
Move to Amend has introduced the proposed amendment to Congress, but it needs the support of communities across the nation to get some traction, said Mary Sue Gmeiner, affiliate coordinator of Greater Dayton Move to Amend.
“If we can get the constitutional amendment passed, we can get money out of politics,” she said.