Thursday, January 21, 2010

SCOTUS Overturns Corporate Ban On Campaign Ads

The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 today to overturn a decision that banned corporations from spending company money on independent campaign advertisements. The decision removed all limits on corporate spending for political ads. The court's decision on the corporate campaign spending case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission overturned a 1990 decision that banned corporations from spending company money on independent campaign advertisements, as well as part of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, also known as McCain-Feingold. The court struck down the part of McCain-Feingold that banned corporate-funded "electioneering communications" in the lead-up to primaries and elections. Today's ruling did not touch the rules governing direct contributions to candidates or advertisement disclosures. [Frank Maisano]

The Center agrees with this decision. The Center agrees with the ACLU that money is speech and corporations or environmental groups, like individuals, should be free to speak with their money. Restrictions on corporate spending for political speech are inconsistent with the First Amendment's protection of free speech.

Washington Post states what's out and still in>

What's out:

-- A 63-year-old prohibition on corporations using money from their general treasuries to produce and run their own campaign ads.
-- A prohibition contained in the McCain-Feingold Act that bars issue-oriented ads paid for by corporations or unions 30 days before a primary and 60 days before a general election.

Still in:

-- A century-old ban on donations by corporations from their treasuries directly to candidates.
-- The requirement that any corporation spending more than $10,000 in a year to produce or air a campaign ad covered by federal restrictions must file a report with the Federal Election Commission, revealing the names and addresses of anyone who contributed $1,000 or more to the ad's preparation or distribution.
-- The requirement that an ad include a disclaimer stating who is responsible for it, if the ad is not authorized by a candidate or political committee.

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