Common Cause Summary of Citizens United, Recent Legal Decisions

Common Cause: “Rather than decide the issue at hand – whether “Hillary” and its campaign commercials triggered the ban on corporate spending to influence elections – it took the radical step of striking down all laws that barred corporate entities (including nonprofit corporations and unions) from spending money to influence elections. The Court’s overreach – decided without any factual record at hand – was the largest of many steps by the Roberts Court to systematically dismantle our campaign finance laws.

“The five justices in the majority ruled that corporations are entitled to the same First Amendment right as human beings to spend an unlimited amount of their general treasury funds influencing our elections “independent” of candidates. Overturning a century of law with the stroke of a pen, the majority held – without citing a shred of evidence – that ‘independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.'”

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