This morning, the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark decision that significantly alters the world of campaign finance law, with particular emphasis on how corporations and unions can support candidates for public office.
In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Court issued a ruling that overturns the ban on corporate and union expenditures that are not coordinated with a political committee. For instance, the Court struck down federal statutes that barred union- and corporate-paid issue ads in the closing days of election campaigns. The Court left in place many of the federal prohibitions against corporate and union treasuries contributing directly to federal political committees, and left undisturbed regulations governing current federal Political Action Committees. The case was originally filed to object to federal restraints applied to the funding and showing of “Hillary, The Movie,” but was expanded by the Court to include a much broader examination of political free speech restraints. The opinion will have a major impact on most local, state, and federal restrictions on the ability of corporations and unions to engage in political activity.
Clients are advised that the expanded flexibility of corporations and unions to engage in political activities will become available this year, including during the fall General Election campaign.