The Supreme Court campaign finance ruling on Thursday means corporations can spend freely on political ads leading up to elections. The Thursday decision invalidates a part of 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign-finance reform law that sought to limit corporate influence.
Lauren Victoria Burke/AP
The US Supreme Court has struck down a major portion of a 2002 campaign-finance reform law, saying it violates the free-speech right of corporations to engage in public debate of political issues.
In a landmark 5-to-4 decision announced Thursday, the high court overturned a 1990 legal precedent and reversed a position it took in 2003, when a different lineup of justices upheld government restrictions on independent political expenditures by corporations during elections.
“Government may not suppress political speech on the basis of the speaker’s corporate identity,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the 57-page majority opinion. “No sufficient governmental interest justifies limits on the political speech of nonprofit or for-profit corporations.”
The decision opens the gates for what campaign reform advocates warn will be a flood of corporate spending in future elections. The ruling is expected to permit similar political expenditures from the general treasuries of labor unions, as well.
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