Client Update: U.S. Supreme Court Partially Overturns McCain-Feingold, Allowing Corporations, Labor Unions and Non-Profits to Make Limited Expenditures from General Funds

Client Update: U.S. Supreme Court Partially Overturns McCain-Feingold, Allowing Corporations, Labor Unions and Non-Profits to Make Limited Expenditures from General Funds

Jan 25, 2010

Article

Brownstein Client Update, January 25, 2010

On January 21, 2010, the United States Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, overturned section 203 of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (“BCRA” or “McCain-Feingold”), 2 U.S.C. § 441b. At issue in the case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, was the BCRA’s ban on independent contributions for the election or defeat of a specific candidate for public office by corporations, unions and non-profit organizations using general treasury funds.

The Citizens United decision will immediately and significantly impact the political decisions and expenditures of corporations, labor unions and non-profit organizations. For the time being, these organizations will no longer be subject to the burdensome accounting and disclosure requirements governing PACs. Rather, corporations are now free to make independent expenditures from their general treasury.

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