Real corporate personhood

Corporations must play by the rules if they want to be seen as individuals.

by The Editorial Board

Civil rights groups chided Minneapolis-based Target following its $150,000 donation to MN Forward, a conservative group supporting Tom Emmer’s campaign for governor over the summer. But there’s at least one group that didn’t even want voters to know these contributions took place.
The plaintiffs, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, the Taxpayers League of Minnesota and a company called Coastal Travel Enterprises, wanted to block the state from enforcing a new law requiring corporations to file reports disclosing their political spending. On Monday, a U.S. District Court judge upheld the law. That was the correct decision.
The new law, enacted by the Legislature this spring, requires corporations to file a report when they donate money to political action funds. It also bars them from donating directly to the political campaigns. The law was in response to the regrettable U.S. Supreme Court decision, Citizens United, which ruled that barring corporations from donating to political organizations restricted their First Amendment rights. The court battle leading up to Monday’s decision was heralded as the first challenge in the country under the new spending rules.
There are few arguments the plaintiffs could make to convince us less accountability is something to desire when it comes to money in politics. Corporations are relative newcomers to the political donation game, and they want to be legally considered individuals, then they must follow the same laws as individuals. When it comes to campaigning, transparency should never be restricted.