Telecommunications Alert: Supreme Court Case Allows Corporate Political Advertising, but Some Restrictions Remain; Disclosure Requirements Also Apply


In a landmark 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on corporate and union spending on political advertisements. The Citizens United v. FEC case allows corporations and labor unions to use unlimited general treasury funds to directly support or oppose candidates for federal office. Until now, corporations and unions could only spend political money through their Political Action Committees (PACs) to fund issue ads (“Call Senator Jones to support the stimulus package.”). The Court’s decision does not eliminate all restrictions on corporate political spending, however, and it specifically upholds disclosure requirements in connection with the political expenditures it did authorize. Corporations considering such expenditures must continue to be mindful of these restrictions and requirements.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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