Those from “Occupy Newport” asked the Newport City Council Monday night to join with other Occupy groups, and citizens across the country, in supporting the “Move to Amend” movement to strike down the “Citizens United” decision by the U.S. Supreme Court with a U.S. Constitutional amendment. The Citizens United decision, in a split 5 to 4 vote, gave legal personhood to corporations with ostensively the same rights under the law as real people. Occupy members told the council that such a ruling threatens the foundation of the country’s democratic principles by giving corporations the ability to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections to propagandize the public and to dominate public discourse on vital issues.
City Councilor David Allen said he too has concerns about Citizens United but that he prefers to wait until Mayor McConnell returns from a Sister City visit in Japan to take up the matter, adding that the city’s main lobbying group, the League of Oregon Cities doesn’t even have the issue on its radar. Other councilors also expressed sympathy for Move to Amend but preferred to discuss the issue again with Newport citizens once the mayor is back in the center seat on the council.