Citizens United

News & Analysis as of

California Ballot 2016: Pros and Cons of Props 57-61

This is the second post in our California Ballot 2016 series – providing the “nutshell” versions of each of the 17 state-wide measures voters must decide in November. Please refer to our first post in the series: Props 51-56,...more

State disclosure laws suffer a setback - Federal court grants charitable nonprofit's request for permanent injunction blocking...

Late last week, the US District Court for the Central District of California struck a blow against the California Attorney General's Office and other supporters of the state's ongoing efforts to expand the public disclosure...more

Super PACs in Spotlight Once Again During Presidential Primary Season

As in the 2014 mid-term election season, Super PACs once again are attracting a great deal of attention in this Presidential Primary season. Although criticized by many, they are a legal, and many believe effective, way to...more

Legislature Tries Again To Put Citizens United On California Ballot

Nearly two years ago, I wrote that the California Supreme Court had blocked an effort to include an advisory vote in the statewide ballot. Proposition 49 asked whether the United States Congress and California Legislature...more

Can A Corporation Be A Citizen Of California?

Notwithstanding the brouhaha engendered by Citizens United v. FEC, 558 U.S. 310, 394 (U.S. 2010) , the idea that corporations are “persons” can be found in numerous California statutes, including California Corporations Code...more

Court Holds Corporations Have No Constitutional Privacy Right, But . . .

Article I, Section 1 of the California Constitution provides that “all people” have an inalienable right of privacy. Does this right extent to corporations? Seemingly it would if corporations are considered “people”. Some...more

Media and political campaigns: From the era of free air time to that of free online advertising

The increasing influence of mass media in political campaigns has been an issue of concern for campaign finance regulators worldwide during the past decades. The role of media often goes beyond merely informing the citizens...more

Update on Texas Campaign Regulations

So-called dark money groups have sprung up since the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Citizens United. These groups are generally nonprofit corporations that raise and spend funds on campaign ads, but do so as a...more

DOJ’s first prosecution for campaign finance coordination — a sign of things to come?

With the 2016 presidential campaign in full swing, pundits, reformers and the media are once again shining a light on the role of independent-expenditure-only committees, aka “super PACs,” in the American political process....more

New York advocacy groups and tax-exempts face additional disclosure obligations

Recent judicial and administrative decisions in New York State should put not-for-profit organizations, advocacy groups and similar entities on notice about their disclosure and transparency obligations in New York....more

Lawful advocacy: Contractor compliance with federal campaign contribution requirements

Last week, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld the ban in US law on contributions to federal political candidates and parties by individuals performing contracts with the federal government. Although...more

DC Circuit Upholds Federal Ban on Campaign Contributions - What's Next for Politically Active Government Contractors?

A unanimous federal appeals court in Washington, DC has upheld a long-standing ban on federal campaign contributions by government contractors. ...more

What is a Super PAC?

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire has reported that in the first half of 2015, presidential Super PACs have raised a total of $211,457,755. This money is in addition to money raised directly by presidential candidate...more

Blog: Former SEC Chairs And Commissioners To Chair Mary Jo White: Failure To Mandate Political Spending Disclosure Is...

Today, two former SEC Chairs and one former Commissioner delivered a letter to SEC Chair Mary Jo White politely berating (well, maybe not so politely) her failure to take action on the 2011 rulemaking petition to require...more

Ninth Circuit Upholds Ban on Contributions by Government Contractors and Other Disclosure Requirements in Hawaii

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently upheld a number of Hawaii’s contribution and disclosure requirements, thus cementing the legacy of Citizens United’s defense of transparency in campaign...more

Looking Back at Five Years of Citizens United

This month marked the fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court handing down its decision in Citizens United v. FEC. More than perhaps most other recent Supreme Court decisions, Citizens United has remained in the public...more

Net Neutrality, Citizens United, and Diminishing Democracy?

When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed earlier this year that broadband internet companies could legally charge content providers for access to internet “fast lanes,” it was considered by some as a...more

SB 1272 (NKA Proposition 49) – The Secretary of State

Last week, I wrote that Governor Brown had allowed SB 1272 to become law without his signature. To say that SB 1272 became law is an hyperbole because, as Governor Brown observed, the bill “has no legal effect whatsoever”. ...more

Californians To Vote On Stripping Common Cause Of Its First Amendment Rights

I recently wrote about SB 1272 (Lieu) which calls a special election for this November 4 at which California voters will be able to cast an advisory vote on whether the U.S. Constitution should be amended to overturn the U.S....more

Vermont Right to Life, Inc. v. Sorrell: Independence Required

Since the Supreme Court found in Citizens United that “the absence of prearrangement and coordination . . .alleviates the danger that expenditures will be given as a quid pro quo for improper commitments from the candidate” –...more

Californians May Vote This November On Whether To Overturn Citizens United

Although state law does not explicitly authorize advisory elections, the California legislature is poised to pass a bill calling a special election for this November for an advisory vote. SB 1272 (Lieu) would submit the...more

The Law of Unintended Consequences?

Shortly after the indictment of Rod Blagojevich, Illinois legislators passed a number of campaign finance reform measures, including contribution limits for the first time in the state’s history and limits on independent...more

New Non-profit Donor Disclosure Takes Effect July 1, 2014 for California Elections

On May 14, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 27 (S.B. 27), increasing the disclosure requirements that non-profit "multipurpose" organizations are subject to when engaging in California elections. This legislative...more

The Next Domino – New York Finally Knocks Down Limits to SuperPACs

Last week, Judge Paul Crotty of the Southern District of New York ruled that New York Election Laws §§ 14-114(8) and 14-126, which impose limits on the amount of money that may be contributed to political candidates, are...more

Supreme Court’s Campaign Contribution Decision To Have Substantial Impact

Pundits have alternatively saluted and denounced the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last week striking down aggregate campaign contribution limits as unconstitutional. Few, however, have addressed the decision’s impact on...more

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