May 27, 2011 •
Corporate Contribution Ban Found Unconstitutional
A federal judge has ruled a section of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 [FECA] prohibiting direct corporate contributions to federal candidates is unconstitutional. In United States v. Danielczyk, a criminal case being heard in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Judge James C. Cacheris found corporations have an equal right to make political contributions under federal law as do human beings.
In the decision dismissing one of the counts against the defendants, the judge writes, “But for better or worse, Citizens United held that there is no distinction between an individual and a corporation with respect to political speech. Thus, if an individual can make direct contributions within FECA’s limits, a corporation cannot be banned from doing the same thing. So because individuals can directly contribute to federal election campaigns within FECA’s limits, and because [2 U.S.C.]§ 441b(a) does not allow corporations to do the same, § 441b(a) is unconstitutional and Count Four must be dismissed.”
Currently, during an election cycle, individuals may contribute $2,500 for a federal candidate’s primary election and an additional $2,500 for the general election.
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