Portland, Maine City Council Votes To End ‘Corporate Personhood’

After more than four hours of testimony last night, the city council of Portland, Maine voted 6–2 to call on the state’s congressional delegation to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution abolishing “corporate personhood.” Of course, Mitt Romney made headlines and raised eyebrows this summer when he told a town hall attendee that “corporations are people, my friends.”

The resolution was a response to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. While advocates acknowledged the council’s vote has no legal authority, they said it was nonetheless important symbolism:

“I can’t think of a more important thing to talk about than democracy. It is being threatened,” said Eric Johnson, a small-business owner from Portland. “You need to help us be heard. There is no more important issue.”

Anna Trevorrow said, “It is absolutely the business of the City Council. The community has come together and asked you to make a statement.”


Mayor Michael Brennan, along with [Councilor David] Marshall and councilors Kevin Donoghue, John Anton, Jill Duson and Nicholas Mavodones, supported the resolution.

The measure’s sponsor said the Occupy Wall Street movement inspired him to submit the non-binding resolution. Maine’s two congressmen, Rep. Mike Michaud (D) and Chellie Pingree (D) have both been critical of the Citizens decision, as has Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

Los Angeles, New York City, and a handful of cities held similar votes last year.