Thursday, January 21, 2010

Supreme Court Overturns Limits on Corporate Spending in Political Campaigns

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Supreme Court has overturned a rule that limited corporations from paying for candidates campaign ads.
WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court ruled that corporations may spend freely to support or oppose candidates for president and Congress, easing decades-old limits on their participation in federal political campaigns.

By a 5-4 vote, the court on Thursday overturned a 20-year-old ruling that said corporations can be prohibited from using money from their general treasuries to pay for campaign ads. The decision, which almost certainly will also allow labor unions to participate more freely in campaigns, threatens similar limits imposed by 24 states.

The justices also struck down part of the landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill that barred union- and corporate-paid issue ads in the closing days of election campaigns.


The decision, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, removes limits on independent expenditures that are not coordinated with candidates' campaigns.

So basically unions and corporations will be flooding our airwaves with campaign ads without limits. As can be seen in the Massachusetts special election, unions, especially the SEIU, spent enormous amounts of money in ads for their candidate, Martha Coakley.

It would not surprise me one bit if the 2010 election cycle is dominated by union and corporate advertisements promoting Democrats, who otherwise are in serious trouble for their support of Obamacare, Cap and Tax(trade), and Pork(stimulus)Fest. Will increased corporate and union ad spending save the Democrats this year? That remains to be seen. But this will certainly shape the election.

UPDATE (lawhawk):
Here's a copy of the decision, which also overturns several provisions of the odious McCain Feingold campaign finance reform law. Restricting political speech isn't healthy, and that ultimately is what McCain Feingold does.

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