Summary: As we previously noted, the Supreme Court has ushered in a new dawn on corporate political spending in its recent decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Citizens United reverses decades of statutory and case law that prohibits corporations from using their general treasuries to fund independent political advertising supporting or opposing candidates for local, state or federal office, or what it is termed "express advocacy". 558 U.S. 50 (2010). It also removes restrictions on independent advertising done within close proximity to either a primary or general election, and which refers to a clearly identified candidate for federal office (known as "electioneering"). We continue to monitor Federal Election Commission ("FEC") efforts to implement the Court's decision in Citizens United, including the announcement on February 5, 2010 that it will no longer enforce provisions prohibiting corporations and labor unions from making either direct expenditures or electioneering communications. The latest development is a notice in the Federal Register from the FEC of revisions to the regulations concerning "coordinated communications" i.e., political advertising paid for by an entity that is coordinated with either a federal candidate, political campaign or political party. 75 FR 55947. These rules will take effect on December 1, 2010.
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