Plenty of change is coming out of Tuesday’s election. And some of that seems to be stem the tide of boundless spending in elections.
In January 2010 – as almost everyone already knows by now – the Supreme Court struck down major portions of campaign finance laws, allowing corporations to make independent expenditures in support of, or opposition to, candidates for federal office.
Yesterday the Federal Election Commission adopted rules to implement the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC.
When the Supreme Court issued Citizens United v. FEC, there was little question that the landscape of campaign finance law shifted. Much of the aftermath continues to focus on independent spending, contribution limits, and outright contribution bans on corporations and government contractors—restrictions that may have been upended by the notion that Citizens United narrowed the supporting governmental interest to quid pro quo corruption.
This morning the Supreme Court denied review in Danielczyk v. United States, a criminal case in which the defendants challenged the century-old federal ban on direct corporate contributions to candidates.
The Securities and Exchange Commission could propose rules requiring public company disclosure of spending on political activities as early as April 2013, according to the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions.
A federal appeals court last week dealt a blow to legislative efforts to limit the effects of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. Following Citizens United, campaign finance reformers attempted to restrain independent corporate political speech by pushing for laws which prohibited corporations from funding independent political advertisements unless shareholders first vote to approve them.
At least by 1602 with the chartering of the Dutch East India Company, and perhaps as early as the 1300s with the formation of the first colleganza, a rudimentary joint-stock company set up in Venice to share the cost of a trade expedition, human beings and corporations have cohabited the earth.
By refusing to hear arguments over whether a state can limit campaign spending by corporations, the Supreme Court refused to reconsider its decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission on Monday. In a 5-4 ruling, the court struck down a century-old Montana ban on corporate political money. By doing so, the high court held that there is no exception to Citizens United at the state and local level.