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  • Posts by W. Plumer Wiseman Jr.

    Buck is a primary member of the Business Services Department, secondarily of the Real Estate Practice Group and was formerly Chair of the Finance and Development Practice Group. His practice focus in these groups is upon commercial ...

In Citizens United v. FEC, a divided U.S. Supreme Court struck down portions of 2 U.S.C. § 441b, which prohibits corporations and unions from making independent expenditures for electioneering communications. As a result, Citizens United makes it permissible for corporations and unions to spend unlimited dollars on independent advertising intended to influence federal elections at any time before a primary or general election. Because the Court’s holding deals primarily with First Amendment issues, it does little to clarify practical matters germane to corporations and unions, such as how independent expenditures may be restricted in the future or the manner in which corporations and unions may make independent expenditures in state elections. So, before spending your organization’s dollars on political advertisements, three key issues to consider are as follows: (1) the decision’s immediate effect on federal law; (2) the decision’s impact on state campaign spending; and (3) the decision’s potential effect on organizational governance.



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