Corporations: Hands-Off Candidates

Photograph by Shawn Thew/EPA

Protesters planned to 'occupy' the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as courthouses across the country, in a show of protest against the two-year anniversary of the controversial Citizens United ruling.

While the Supreme Court has opened a floodgate of contributions to committees promoting or opposing candidates, a federal appeals court says the prohibition against corporations contributing directly to candidates remains:

As Bloomberg’s Tom Schoenberg reports, a three-judge appeals panel in Richmond, Virginia, made its ruling today in reinstating a criminal campaign-finance charge against two fundraisers for Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid who were indicted for improperly reimbursing $186,600 to donors.

U.S. District Judge James Cacheris had thrown out a charge that the two illegally funneled corporate money to the campaign, ruling that the high court’s 2010 Citizens United decision meant companies can make campaign donations directly to candidates as long as they comply with general legal limits. The appeals court judges disagreed.

“Leaping to this conclusion ignores the well-established principle that independent expenditures and direct contributions are subject to different standards of scrutiny and supported by different government interests,” U.S. Circuit Judge Roger Gregory wrote for the panel.

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