U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Citizens United (1/21/2010)

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There, non-individual donors accounted for 38 percent of the money raised in state elections, while individuals provided just 31 percent of the money.

Supreme Court Decision on Campaign Finance

It is important to note, however, that while unions and corporations may be banned or limited from giving directly to candidates, they can still form political action committees PACs that can contribute to candidates. However, since only individuals associated with the unions or corporations can fund the PACs, the wells from which to draw are significantly smaller.

Michigan Chamber of Commerce , which allowed states to prohibit corporations from funding the advocation for or against state candidates. In light of the ruling, the restrictions or bans already enacted in 24 states see table below are now in jeopardy. The court did uphold the constitutionality of the government's right to require that corporations, unions and others publicly disclose the expenditures they make advocating for or against candidates.


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These are commonly referred to as 'independent expenditures,' because they must be made without coordinating with the candidates themselves. Voters will be familiar with the results of these "independent expenditures"—think of the television ads attacking or promoting candidates or referendums to be decided by voters, that end with "Paid for by [Name of Group]. Unfortunately, due to the typically poor disclosure requirements of such expenditures at the state level, it will be difficult—if not impossible—to measure any changes, should any of these state bans be overturned as a direct result of Citizens United.


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  7. For more information on the poor state of disclosure of independent expenditures at the state level, see the Institute's report, " Indecent Disclosure. Not reflected in Appendix A is money to state candidates from party committees, candidates and their committees, and so-called 'small donors," which are those who give amounts low enough to fall under the state's minimum reporting threshold for disclosing the donor's name.

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    David "Dave" N. Bossie President Citizens United. More information about Citizens United v.