A legal entity with dramatically different connotations for left and right. On the left the term is frequently associated with profit-driven abuses of power, or assumptions that the corporate structure usually puts profits over worker and public goods. Some have been successful enacting laws creating an optional corporate structure where the public good can be considered as well as profits. On the right, as long as government is not favoring a corporation (see crony capitalism), the term is simply descriptive of an important form of business entity that promotes and protects investment, critical for economic growth. Were it not for the fact that a growing segment of the corporate world is colluding with government, the term would be largely positive on the right.
Controversy about corporations has increased with decisions of the Supreme Court recognizing corporations as “persons” within the meaning of the First Amendment and entitled to freedom of speech. The Citizens United decision, by according corporate political contributions the status of political “speech”, invalidated restrictions and public reporting requirements on political spending by corporations. Liberals tend to strongly oppose this as overreach, and devastating to our electoral process. Groups have formed to advocate to Congress to reverse the decision, or for a Constitutional amendment.