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Today’s quotable

Thursday, Oct 30, 2014

* From last night’s debate between Congressman Bill Enyart and Republican challenger Mike Bost Here’s Bost answering a question about corporate personhood

“I believe that corporate…corporate…corporations that are making up this United States are also individuals, that those individuals have rights and therefore the corporations have rights to establish what they believe because if you go…and and we’re talking about Hobby Lobby, but how about if we go down to the family farm which is also incorporated? When we start telling them that, okay, you’re incorporated, now you can’t follow your own religious beliefs. I don’t agree with it and I’m…I’m just adamantly opposed.”

If you watch the video, he received significant applause for that one.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Sir Reel - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 11:50 am:

    Nice coherent response.

    I guess treating corporations as people is only about religious freedom.

  2. - Wordslinger - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 11:52 am:

    Well, when you put it that way…..

    Wake me up when corporations assume the liabilities and responsibilities of individuals.

  3. - ronnoco - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 11:53 am:

    Either Mr. Bost didn’t understand the concept, or he does and he’s just relying on constituents to be equally confused. Do corporations like apple pie and baseball? Do farms?

  4. - The Historian - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 11:56 am:

    Given that transcription, I think the immediate follow-up question should have been “What letter grades did you receive in high school English?”

  5. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 11:59 am:

    Robert Reich, November 16, 2012:
    “I’ll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one.”

  6. - Old and In The Way - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 12:00 pm:

    I’m sure Mr Bost considers corporations as individuals or people with inherent rights. However, I’m just as sure that he considers unions as something else altogether and of course they have no rights. Makes perfect sense as long as you don’t think about it too much……..frankly I’m sure he has no clue what he is even talking about. It’s just a talking point with an applause line. Not one of the deep thinkers in the Illinois GA. He doesn’t belong in the US House. Mushroom?

  7. - Demoralized - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 12:00 pm:

    Well, now that that’s all cleared up.

    I think the corporations are people argument is totally asinine. I’ll live with it because I have no choice because the Supreme Court, in their infinite wisdom, has taken us down that road.

    Now, since Bost specifically referred to the religious aspect of the argument I’ll also comment on that. I think the 1st Amendment has been totally bastardized by people who claim that it gives them the right to not do anything that they believe offends their religious beliefs. If you are operating a business, I could give a flying leap about your religious beliefs. If you can’t separate those beliefs from your responsibility to serve the public equally then you shouldn’t be operating a business. It’s really that simple.

  8. - Patrick - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 12:01 pm:

    I saw a bumper sticker the other day that sums up my beliefs nicely:

    “I’ll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one.”

  9. - Under Further Review - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 12:01 pm:

    The context is key. Small closely held corporations owned by friends and family members (Hobby Lobby) are the ones entitled to such treatment.

    I would not make the same argument for multinational corporations.

  10. - Chicago's_Phinest - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 12:03 pm:

    If the people of southern Illinois are dumb enough to elect this guy to congress, they get what they deserve. What an embarrassment.

    I certainly don’t want him to be one of Illinois’ 18 representatives in Washington. What a joke.

  11. - Gooner - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 12:04 pm:


    When I used to go to mass, I never shared a pew with a corporation.

  12. - Gooner - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 12:06 pm:

    Question for Mr. Bost –

    I’ve thought about creating a P.C. for my firm, but I’m concerned that my corporation may become a Lutheran, while historically I’ve been Catholic.

    What do we do in that case? Can Mr. Bost provide any guidance? How should we raise our employees?

  13. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 12:10 pm:

    Under Further Review
    Where do we draw the line? I suspect people would not be supporting Hobby Lobby’s exercise of faith if owned and operated by faithful pre-2000 graduates of Bob Jones University (i.e., racial inter-marriage and / or dating is banned).

  14. - Jaded - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 12:12 pm:

    Chicago’s Phinest,
    The best part is that unless you live in the 12th CD, you have absolutely no say in the matter, and I am sure those folks down there are pretty happy about that.

  15. - Senator Clay Davis - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 12:12 pm:

    Hey Bost, if corporations are people, can I marry one? I’ll marry a lady corporation, so it won’t be a gay thing. Is that okay???

  16. - Aldyth - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 12:18 pm:

    I would have booed loud enough for Chris Christie to hear it and tell me to sit down and shut up.

  17. - VM - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 12:19 pm:

    I’m really most troubled by the applause.

    Seriously, if an individual running a business has religious beliefs that she wants protected, then don’t incorporate.

    A corporation is a separate legal entity. It is supposed to be separate from the owners so that the owners are shielded from personal liability. But there is absolutely no requirement that a business incorporate. If someone wants their business to have personal rights, great: don’t incorporate.

    Should be pretty simple, people.

  18. - Chicago's_Phinest - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 12:19 pm:

    ==Chicago’s Phinest,
    The best part is that unless you live in the 12th CD, you have absolutely no say in the matter, and I am sure those folks down there are pretty happy about that.==

    Fair enough. Washington needs more people like Enyart (educated, General, mild-tempered) and less people like Bost (no college education, dance instructor, dog killer).

    For the country’s sake, lets hope the people of southern Illinois make the right choice.

  19. - Will P - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 12:19 pm:

    From “Billy Madison” - we are all dumber now for listening to your response. I award you no points. May God have mercy on your soul.

  20. - Unreliable Sources - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 12:28 pm:

    Hey, at least he had an answer on this one!

  21. - Bruce Ruiner - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 12:29 pm:

    Yes, and I am looking forward to giving corporations the right to vote and then I can legally buy even MORE votes. Suffragettes Unite!

  22. - OldSmoky2 - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 12:32 pm:

    Yeah, you wouldn’t want any of those incorporated family farmers being forced to go against their religious beliefs and grow gay soybeans and so forth.

  23. - Louis Howe - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 12:34 pm:

    Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person.”
    - David Korten, When Corporations Rule the World (former Professor of the Harvard University Graduate School of Business)

  24. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 12:38 pm:

    More evidence Mike Bost doesn’t belong in any governmental body.

  25. - Bill Edley - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 12:51 pm:

    If you are interested in a full discussion and history of the “corporate personhood” argument see the following

  26. - Old and In The Way - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 12:54 pm:

    What I find most interesting, and alarming, is that this whole corporate personhood thing resonates with the Tea Party simpletons. Aren’t they the ones who hated the bank bailout? Do they realize that the Boston Tea Party was more about the tea monopoly granted the East India Company and not taxes. It was such a divisive issue that our founding fathers for the most part felt that the concept of corporations should be limited! They wanted to limit the lifetime of corporations! Franklin felt that it was unnatural for a corporation to live in perpetuity while a person could not…….wonder what Brucie would say to this concept? Bost? I’m sure it never crossed his mind.

  27. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 1:15 pm:

    he received significant applause for that one

    Great! That audience must be a lot smarter than we are because I didn’t understand his answer and everyone else here seems shocked and appalled.

  28. - Judgment Day - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 1:16 pm:

    ““I’ll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one.””

    You mean like what the US DOJ did to the late “Arthur Andersen, LLP”?

    Sure looked like an ‘Execution” to me.

  29. - Old and In The Way - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 1:30 pm:

    Judgement Day

    No a corporate execution would have been sending them to jail! Instead they were just parceled out to other “corporations” and considering the vast evidence of fraud and malfeasance those responsible should have gone to jail. That didn’t happen. They were in essence protected by the limits of corporate responsibility. BTW your link is to nothing. No content.

  30. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 1:32 pm:

    Great example of a corporate execution Judgement Day

  31. - Wordslinger - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 1:45 pm:

    Usually, an individual dies in an execution.

    If the AA experience is the same as someone being executed, then I guess you must believe in reincarnation, because AA partners are still in business all over the world under different names.

  32. - Anon. - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 1:55 pm:

    ==They were in essence protected by the limits of corporate responsibility.==

    Not even close. Corporate limited liability protects shareholders from claims against the corporation, it does not shield individuals who commit some kind of wrongdoing themselves from criminal or civil liability for their actions. If Bruce Rauner gave your grandmother the wrong pill, you could sue him whether or not he was acting as an employee, officer or other agent for one of his nursing home corporations.

  33. - Old and In The Way - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 2:10 pm:

    There are different types and levels of responsibility and liability. In this case the individuals were shielded from responsibility and liability by the corporation. Their actions were not deemed criminal because of the “corporate policy and actions.” They were just doing their job. However, you can’t put the corporation in jail! I don’t agree with it but it happens a lot more than we want to admit. Sure there are individuals who get sacrificed but rarely does the CEO or the Corporation go to jail. AA was just too big and too corrupt to let it survive intact. Solution……sell it off.

    BTW Raunner seems to have escaped any criminal liability for the conditions his policies created yet he was at least to some degree responsible.

  34. - Old and In The Way - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    My clerk just reminded me that AA was not your typical corporation. Faux pas. They were in effect structured around limited partnerships, as are most of the big accounting firms. Big difference legally.

  35. - D.P.Gumby - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    Mr Bost, me and my corporation have a sincere 1st Amendment religious objection to people carrying firearms. Therefore, I want to prohibit anyone with a firearm from my property even if Illinois law changes. What is your position?

  36. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 2:18 pm:

    If corporations are people, why aren’t prisons filled with them?

  37. - Judgment Day - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 2:22 pm:

    Try this link:

  38. - CapnCrunch - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 2:36 pm:

    “…. Corporate limited liability protects shareholders from claims against the corporation, it does not shield individuals who commit some kind of wrongdoing themselves from criminal or civil liability for their actions.”

    Nor does it shield a corporation from prosecution as a person in the criminal justice system. In 1909 the Supreme Court upheld the first criminal prosecution of a corporation( New York Central & Hudson River Railroad ) in a federal court. Not sure if being eligible for prosecution as a person makes a corporation a person.

  39. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 2:41 pm:

    No clue what he’s trying to say. Completely incoherent.

  40. - Under Further Review - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 3:24 pm:

    Imprisoning a corporate charter or executing the corporate seal does not seem to be possible.

  41. - frustrated GOP - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 3:46 pm:

    he just lost my vote, oh wait I live north of the Mason_Dixon line and that race is south of it.

    And then he said this message is brought to you by the Koch bros.

  42. - Judgment Day - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 3:57 pm:

    “Imprisoning a corporate charter or executing the corporate seal does not seem to be possible.”

    Court ordered incineration or melting might be sufficient.

    There is another alternative approach:

  43. - Frustrated Voter - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 3:58 pm:

    So, who runs a corporation?

  44. - Gurnge - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 4:20 pm:

    While his response was….in-eloquent (it took more than one read to follow him), it probably more accurately reflected the actual reasoning behind the Hobby Lobby decision than a lot of other “analysis” I’ve seen.

    To quote the majority opinion, “RFRA’s [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] text shows that Congress designed the statute to provide very broad protection for religious liberty and did not intend to put merchants to such a choice [give up the right to seek judicial protection of their religious liberty or forgo the benefits of operating as corporation]. It employed the familiar legal fiction of including corporations within RFRA’s definition of “persons,” but the purpose of extending rights to corporations is to protect the rights of people associated with the corporation, including shareholders, officers, and employees. Protecting the free-exercise rights of closely held corporations thus protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control them.” 573 U.S. 3

    Similar if not the same reasoning is why the government can’t just take assets of corporations without due process(5th amendment), or go snooping around corporate computers without a warrant (4th amendment–insert snarky comment here).

  45. - illini - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 4:30 pm:

    Mike Bost supposedly represented me for 10 years ( until redistricting ). He has his 20 years in the GA and will be collecting a reasonable, maybe very comfortable pension, and is satisfied, in his own mind, that his mindless rantings and incoherent answers resonate with the voters in IL 12. At some point I’m sure he is right.

    But lets not forget about the Beagle that he shot. A Congressman, I don’t think so! And I am hoping that enough there enough sane people in the District that will reject his showmanship and bravado and vote for substance and leadership.

  46. - Anon - Thursday, Oct 30, 14 @ 4:33 pm:

    Wow…and this guy is favored to get to congress…that is so sad…

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