Saturday, May 28, 2011

Federal Court Strikes Down Ban on Corporate Campaign Contributions

Supreme Court of the United States

Politico and The Daily Beast report that a federal court struck down a federal ban on corporate campaign contributions, arguing that companies ought to be able to give directly to political campaigns. The decision goes further than last year's Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court, which ruled that corporations are entitled to free speech and therefore can spend unlimited sums of money on campaign advertising.

District Judge James Cacheris of the U.S. District Court of Eastern Virginia ruled that, based on Citizens United, corporations can give up to $5,000 directly to candidates.
The decision will likely go to the Supreme Court, and challenges to the judge's limits on the size of contribution are expected. The decision came in a criminal case of two men charged with reimbursing their employees for $186,600 in donations to Hillary Clinton's campaign for Senate in 2006 and president in 2008.

Politico clarified the rulling as follows:
Citizens United stopped short of allowing corporations to give directly to candidates, but it did find that corporations are entitled to free speech rights.

District Judge James Cacheris ruled that, based on Citizens United, corporations should be allowed to contribute directly to candidates’ campaigns.“If human beings can make direct campaign contributions … and if, in Citizens United’s interpretation … corporations and human beings are entitled to equal political speech rights, then corporations must also be able to contribute within (the federal) limits,” Cacheris wrote in a 52 page decision.

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