Citizens United

News & Analysis as of

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

A Setback for Mandated Political Spending Disclosure

One of the hottest SEC rulemaking topics over the past two years—disclosure of corporate political spending—quietly took a significant hit a few weeks ago when the SEC removed it from its rulemaking agenda. The clamor for...more

Chip Babcock Speaks: Citizens United? Maybe Not.

The United States Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission was a wonderful First Amendment decision despite persistent criticism. It involved a movie about Hillary Clinton which the corporate...more

Corporations Can’t Be Harassed

According to the U.S. Supreme Court, corporations have First Amendment rights, at least to the extent that they can make monetary contributions to political candidates.* However, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals recently...more

Are Political Contributions Ultra Vires?

It’s been three years, but the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm’n, 558 US 50 (2010) continues to foment a fierce debate about corporate political spending. In February, Representative Adam...more

DC Circuit Reversed Van Hollen. Players Changed Tactics to Avoid Disclosure. Did It Matter in 2012? by Claudia A. Hrvatin

On September 18, 2012, in Van Hollen v. Federal Election Commission, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed a March 30th ruling of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia...more

What’s in Store in Congress on Campaign Finance Reform? by Lauren M. Donoghue

As mentioned in the previous article, having just gone through the most expensive election in U.S. history, $6 billion spent, what action can we expect Congress to take on this issue in the coming session? According to an...more

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