February 25, 2013 •
United States v. Danielczyk
Today the United States Supreme Court decided not to grant a review of the case of United States v. Danielczyk.
Danielczyk is a criminal case in which one of the defense arguments was the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 prohibiting direct corporate contributions to federal candidates was unconstitutional.
The U.S. District Court Judge presiding over the case had agreed with the defense and, based on Citizens United v. FEC, found corporations have an equal right to make political contributions under federal law as do human beings. The judge’s decision was reversed on appeal. The reversal on this issue of law now stands.
May 27, 2011 •
US District Court
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.
July 7, 2010 •
A bill amending the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 and the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 has passed the House of Representatives.
H.R. 5609, which passed on a vote of 408-4, prohibits any registered lobbyist whose clients include foreign governments which are found to be sponsors of international terrorism or include other foreign nationals from making contributions and other campaign-related disbursements in elections for public office. The bill moves to the Senate.