Student PIRGs In Naive, Pointless Effort to Thwart Corporate Persons

05/08/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

A new video contest sponsored by Student PIRGs (Public Interest Research Groups) is seeking entries that "show Congress that corporate persons should not be able to buy our elections."

"The very idea that corporation can now channel their immense wealth to advocate directly for or against a federal candidate is abhorrent," an announcement on the Huffington Post asserts.

"The videos," Student PIRGs affirm, "will be a critical part of an effort to educate local and state representatives and to call on Washington, D.C. to legislate a solution to the sweeping decision of the Supreme Court."

Oh, those darn fool kids! Normally, their callow and jejune little home movie project would be hardly worth noting, but as campaign manager for Murray Hill Inc., the first corporation to run for Congress following the enlightened ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in the Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission case, I must comment on a disturbing instance of intellectual theft.

In what I suppose is a feeble attempt at irony, the PIRGies have included the popular Murray Hill Inc. campaign video on their contest announcement with this characterization:

"Direct democracy at work folks, as corporations take the role that nature, society, and the constitution gave them!

You got a problem with that? On one side, we have the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Congress, a century of legal precedent and the largest economies in the world--on the other side, a bunch of college kids who are trying to compensate for not coming of age in the 1960s.

In keeping with my pledge to run a campaign that "puts people second," or even third, I feel it is my duty to engage in a public education campaign that promotes the cause of corporate civil rights, along with crushing our opposition and acquiring unlimited, unchecked power. The weight of history and the underpinnings of the modern economy is on our side.

It's important to remember that all nine Supreme Court justices, in the Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission ruling accepted the validity of "corporate persons," although they were split 5-4 on granting corporations full and unfettered civil rights.

This standard has been upheld by the Court for close to 200 years! In Providence Bank v. Billings (1830), for example, Chief Justice John Marshall stated that,

"The great object of an incorporation is to bestow the character and properties of individuality on a collective and changing body of men."

And Title 1, Section 1 of the U.S. Code clearly states:

In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, unless the context indicates otherwise-- the words "person" and "whoever" include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals;

Even the purported left wing Institute for Policy Studies (but whose dispassionate presentation of these facts is above reproach), agrees:

Of the 100 largest economies in the world, 51 are corporations; only 49 are countries (based on a comparison of corporate sales and country GDPs).
The Top 200 corporations' sales are growing at a faster rate than overall global economic activity. Between 1983 and 1999, their combined sales grew from the equivalent of 25.0 percent to 27.5 percent of World GDP.
The Top 200 corporations' combined sales are bigger than the combined economies of all countries minus the biggest 10.

All of these truths, which we hold to be self-evident, will, I'm sure, emerge and be accepted over time. And the public has already spoken regarding the appeal of the Murray Hill Inc. message versus PIRG. We have over 170,000 views on YouTube, they have 910. Murray Hill Inc. has more than 2600 Facebook fans, Student PIRG has around 1900.

So I'm not worried about the Student PIRG "challenge." But what does concern me about the Student PIRG pirating of our message is a purloined document they are insouciantly waving on their post.

The corporate personhood rights movement has been drafting an improved revision of the U.S. Constitution that we had planned to roll out later in the campaign.

I don't know how Student PIRG got a hold of this draft, but I can assure you that appropriate action will be taken to protect our copyright. In the meantime, please get ready to replace any copies of the Constitution in your possession or in your childrens' textbooks with this more contemporary and realistic version.