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These Republicans believe money is speech and corporations are people

It’s House Resolution 2 and it would urge members of Congress to  “propose a Constitutional Amendment abolishing corporate personhood and declaring that money is not free speech.”

It passed out of committee last Friday on a vote of 13 to 7. The committee has 12 Republicans and eight Democrats. The eight Democrats voted ‘yea’ along with five Republicans. The seven ‘nay’ votes, obviously, belonged to the other Republicans.

Those seven Republicans voted against their constituents.

Here’s why: In 2012, there was an initiative on the ballot (I-166) stating that corporations are not human beings and prohibiting corporate contributions and expenditures. It passed with 75 percent of the electorate voting in favor of the initiative. A good share of Republicans must have voted for I-166.

Unfortunately, because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s earlier Citizens United ruling, the Montana initiative was struck down in state district court.

That’s why there’s a movement for a Constitutional Amendment as the Supreme Court isn’t likely to overturn itself any time soon.

Here’s a breakdown of committee members who support corporate spending in electoral politics and those who support the people.

Let’s take a look at the Billings delegation first. It split 2 to 4. Democrats Jade Bahr and Jessica Karjala spoke on behalf of the resolution and voted yes. Republicans Frank Fleming, Rodney Garcia, Dale Mortensen and Peggy Webb voted no.

Democrats from Browning, Tyson Runningwolf and Marvin Weatherwax, voted yes.

Here are the four other Democrats who voted for the resolution: Jacob Bachmeier, Havre; Denise Hayman, Bozeman; Mark Sweeney, Philipsburg and Thomas Winter, Missoula.

The five Republicans who voted in favor of the resolution were: Geraldine Custer, Forsyth; Frank Garner, Kalispell; Sharon Greef, Florence; Walt Sales, Manhattan and Ray Shaw, Sheridan.

Besides the four Billings representatives, the other three Republicans who voted against the resolution were: Julie Dooling, Helena; Chairman Forrest Mandeville, Columbus and Wendy McKamey, Great Falls.

You can listen to the audio comments before the vote was taken here.

HR 2 is scheduled for its second reading on Valentine’s Day at 1 p.m. on the House floor, so there’s still time to send a sweet message. There are lots of ways to get ahold of legislators but here’s one way to message them. We’ll see if there’s enough love in the Montana House to reign in corporate spending.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

About the author

Pete Talbot

'Papa’ Pete Talbot is first and foremost a grandfather to five wonderful grandchildren. Like many Montanans, he has held numerous jobs over the years: film and video producer, a partner in a marketing and advertising firm, a builder and a property manager. He’s served on local and statewide Democratic Party boards. Pete has also been blogging at various sites for over a decade. Ping-pong and skiing are his favorite diversions. He enjoys bourbon.

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