Taking the "Evil" Out of Corporate Moneys

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The House State Affairs Committee this morning sent a Joint Memorial—that's when the Idaho Legislature decides to send a letter to Congress—back to its Democratic sponsors, demanding they be nicer to corporations and at least a little mean to unions.

Rep. Brian Cronin, a Boise Democrat, agreed to both changes and hopes to resubmit the document to the committee for a potential hearing.

The memorial urges Congress to "negate the deleterious effects of the United States Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission." That's the decision that defines corporations as people with regard to electioneering expenditures.

You can read the decision here [pdf].

The memorial starts out downright patriotic:"We the People of the state of Idaho are endowed with certain unalienable rights that are expressly conveyed to people, and not to corporations ..."

Seems obvious enough. But the electioneering law that the Supremes negated applies equally to corporations and unions, and the first draft of the Idaho memorial left out mention of labor unions (though Idaho AFL-CIO boss Dave Whaley sat in the back of the hearing). So several Republicans suggested Cronin take his letter back and add some language reigning in labor as well.

The committee also got hung up on the word "evil" which appeared in the text in the context of a 1907 Senate report on campaign finance. The report stated: "[t]he evils of the use of [corporate] money in connection with political elections are so generally recognized that the committee deems it unnecessary to make any argument in favor of the general purpose of this measure."

We have no argument either. Just don't be evil.