Ever since the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United that corporations have the same First Amendment rights as individuals for the purposes of electoral communications, an important question has lingered regarding the implications of the majority opinion.
Not "if corporations are people, how come they barely pay taxes?" And certainly not, "if corporations are people, how come none of them are in prison?" No, here's the real dilemma: If corporations are people, how come they need to use the intermediaries of campaign contributions and lobbyists to bend policy making to their whims? Why not eliminate the middlemen and have corporations become the politicians?
For Farmscape LLC, a Los Angeles business that designs and maintains farm plots in the city, the answer is "Why not, indeed?" Following in the path-breaking limited-liability footsteps of Murray Hill Incorporated — an environmental consultancy that sought ballot access in Maryland's 8th Congressional District in 2010 — Farmscape recently announced its candidacy for mayor of Los Angeles.
As part of its effort "to represent our chard values," Farmscape submitted voter registration paperwork to the County Recorder's office last week, appending an argument for corporate suffrage alongside its application…
While Farmscape LLC is not a biological human citizen by the classical conception assumed on your form, Farmscape hereby registers to vote within the state of California based upon the new standard for corporate personhood affirmed in the Citizens United v Federal Elections Commission ruling. The Supreme Court has asked that corporate groups of citizens not be discriminated against in their participation in the political process, therefore Farmscape intends to register its candidacy for Mayor of Los Angeles. To qualify as a candidate, Farmscape must first register to vote…
Farmscape is a corporate citizen of the United States of America and a corporate resident of California, established in Claremont in 2008….Farmscape is not biologically 18 human years old. All Farmscape managers, staff, and equity holders, however, are over 18 years of age.
As for its platform, Farmscape promises to be a benevolent overlord, as it seeks to "end our dependence on foreign soil… get tough on raccoons," and "appoint a Compostmaster General."
Despite these progressive stances, some have criticized the idea of a corporation running for office as a mockery of the democratic process. There's something to this claim. Even if Farmscape manages to overcome extensive obstacles related to election law that still stand in its way, it may still face intellectual property challenges. I'm pretty sure human politicians already have a patent on making a mockery of democracy.
Tags: California, Citizens United v. FEC, Corporations, Environment, Food, Los Angeles