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Supreme Court: Campaign-finance limits violate free speech

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Among political leaders, Democrats attacked the decision and Republicans praised it.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky lauded the decision as “monumental.” Texas Sen. John Cornyn said he was pleased by the decision. “These are the bedrock principles that underpin our system of governance and strengthen our democracy,” he said.

From the White House, President Obama called the ruling a “major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.”

Electioneering vs. free speech

At issue was a provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), commonly referred to as the McCain-Feingold law. Section 203 of the law barred corporations and labor unions from using general treasury funds to pay for advertisements or other broadcasts that mention a political candidate in a way that Federal Election Commission officials might view as electioneering. The ban applied 30 days before any primary and 60 days before a general election.

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