Supreme Court Decision May Allow Corporations and Unions to Make Anonymous Political Donations

Monday, March 01, 2010

Combined with an earlier court decision, the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that lifted restrictions on corporate and union donations may also lead to these powerful interests contributing for and against campaigns without disclosing their participation in races. Another ramification of the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision is that big business and organized labor can now donate to nonprofit groups that support or attack candidates and other election campaigns without having to disclose who’s financing them. In effect, companies and unions can now pour more money than ever into political races and not even have to worry about abiding by disclosure rules that apply to campaign financing.

This new situation brought on by the Citizens United decision combined with a 1986 Supreme Court decision (Federal Election Commission v. Massachusetts Citizens for Life, which established anonymous electioneering by nonprofits) has led to Democrats in Congress crafting new legislation that will require nonprofit groups to disclose the sources of their financing for their political advertisements.
-Noel Brinkerhoff


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