For immediate release: Aug.10, 2022
Contact: Amy Smith, Amy.Smith@austintexas.gov / 512-659-3135
Council calls on Federal Lawmakers to end Corporate Personhood
|The Austin City Council has reaffirmed its commitment to a national campaign to amend the U.S. Constitution to end corporate personhood.
The nationwide “Move to Amend” effort aims to reverse a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that recognized corporations as people with First Amendment rights to spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns.
Council Member Kathie Tovo sponsored the July 28 resolution with cosponsors Council Members Leslie Pool, José ‘Chito’ Vela and Ann Kitchen.
“Current and past Supreme Court rulings have given corporations the green light for polluting our air and water, denying health care coverage of birth control pills for employees and trampling on what’s left of consumer protection rights,” Tovo said. “It’s time that federal lawmakers end corporate personhood and level the playing field so all individuals can have equal access to the political process.”
Council Member Pool said, “The Supreme Court’s ruling that corporations are ‘persons’ and thus entitled to contribute to elections was not only wrong on the law, but directly counter to the ‘by the people, for the people’ principle upon which our country is founded. With corporations giving millions of dollars to elections, corporate power is unstoppable, trampling that of average citizens. ‘Money is free speech’ is nothing more than an excuse to let corporations control politics.”
Council Member Vela noted, "Corporate voices don't need to dominate politics, especially when they have more power than the voices of the people. I support Council Member Tovo's resolution, and I thank her for bringing it forward."
Council Member Kitchen said, “It’s un-democratic for corporations to have First Amendment protections that allow them free rein in financing elections, determining their outcomes, and influencing policy.”
Council’s reaffirmation follows a 2014 City Council resolution calling for an end to corporate personhood, which the Council subsequently included in its 2015 federal legislative agenda.
"We are delighted that Austin is joining the hundreds of communities and hundreds of thousands of individuals across the nation who are demanding an end to corporate personhood and the false “money is free speech” doctrine that the Supreme Court rendered in its disastrous Citizens United ruling,” said Colin Clark, a leader in the local campaign effort. “Austin Move to Amend applauds the City Council for recognizing this important issue for the future of our democracy.”