Before the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) was passed in 1971, there were few laws to govern campaign finance at the federal level. The Tillman Act (1907) banned corporations from making political contributions to candidates in federal races. The Taft-Hartley Act (1947) barred unions from doing the same. Taft-Hartley also was the first law that prohibited both corporations and unions from making “independent expenditures” in support of or in opposition to candidates in federal elections. As will be shown in this post (Part 1) and the next (Part 2), whenever Congress would pass laws to reform campaign finance, the Supreme Court would strike down significant parts of each one of them. Continue reading
Posted in FECA, Supreme Court
Tagged 501(c)4, Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Buckley v. Valeo, campaign finance history, Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee v. FEC, express advocacy, FEC v. Massachusetts Citizens for Life, First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, independent expenditures, QNC, Qualifed Nonprofit Corporation, Senator James Buckley, soft money
by Barb and Kellye
This is the third in a series of four posts outlining the 7 major questions considered by the Supreme Court in making its Citizens United decision ( Part 1, Part 2). This post deals with two more of those major questions. One of these questions involves what corruption test should be used to determine whether campaign finance laws are needed to restrict political spending. The other question asks whether the “appearance of political corruption” erodes the public’s confidence in the democratic process. As stated at the beginning of the series, Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion and Justice Stevens the minority opinion.
Be sure to read to the end of this post to find out what the Supreme Court decided to do today. Continue reading
Posted in Citizens United, Supreme Court
Tagged 1st Amendment rights, appearance of corruption, Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Buckley v. Valeo, campaign contributions, corruption test, independent expenditures, political corruption, public's confidence in the democratic process, quid pro quo, restrict political spending, risk of corruption