Skip to content

Campaign Finance Reform

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Campaign finance reform is the common term for the political effort in the United States to change the involvement of money in politics, primarily in political campaigns.

Although attempts to regulate campaign finance by legislation date back to 1867, the first successful attempts nationally to regulate and enforce campaign finance originated in the 1970s. The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) of 1972 required candidates to disclose sources of campaign contributions and campaign expenditures. It was amended in 1974 with the introduction of statutory limits on contributions, and creation of the Federal Election Commission (FEC). It attempted to restrict the influence of wealthy individuals by limiting individual donations to $1,000 and donations by political action committees (PACs) to $5,000. These specific election donations are known as ‘hard money.’ The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) of 2002, also known as “McCain-Feingold“, after its sponsors, is the most recent major federal law on campaign finance, which revised some of the legal limits on expenditures set in 1974, and prohibited unregulated contributions (commonly referred to as “soft money”) to national political parties. ‘Soft money’ also refers to funds spent by independent organizations that do not specifically advocate the election or defeat of candidates, and funds which are not contributed directly to candidate campaigns.

In early 2010, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be limited pursuant to the right of these entities to free speech.

First attempts

To gain votes from recently[when?] enfranchised, unpropertied voters, Andrew Jackson launched his campaign for the 1828 election through a network of partisan newspapers across the nation. After his election, Jackson began a political patronage system that rewarded political party operatives, which had a profound effect on future elections. Eventually, appointees were expected to contribute portions of their pay back to the political machine. During the Jacksonian era, some of the first attempts were made by corporations to influence politicians. Jackson claimed that his charter battle against the Second Bank of the United States was one of the great struggles between democracy and the money power. The Bank of the United States in turn spent over $40,000 from 1830 to 1832 in an effort to stop Jackson’s re-election.[citation needed]

In the 1850s, Pennsylvania Republican Simon Cameron began to develop what became known as the “Pennsylvania idea” of applying the wealth of corporations to help maintain Republican control of the legislature.[citation needed] Political machines across the country used the threat of hostile legislation to force corporate interests into paying for the defeat of the measures.[citation needed] U.S. Senators of the time were elected not by popular vote, but by state legislatures, whose votes could sometimes be bought. Exposed bribery occurred in Colorado, Kansas, Montana and West Virginia.[citation needed]
Abraham Lincoln‘s attempt to finance his own 1858 Senate run bankrupted him, even though he had arranged a number of $500 expense accounts from wealthy donors. However, he was able to regain enough money in his law practice to purchase an Illinois newspaper to support him in the presidential election of 1860, for which he gained the financial support of businessmen in Philadelphia and New York City.

After the Civil War, parties increasingly relied on wealthy individuals for support, including Jay Cooke, the Vanderbilts, and the Astors. In the absence of a civil service system, parties also continued to rely heavily on financial support from government employees, including assessments of a portion of their federal pay. The first federal campaign finance law, passed in 1867, was a Naval Appropriations Bill which prohibited officers and government employees from soliciting contributions from Navy yard workers. Later, the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883 established the civil service and extended the protections of the Naval Appropriations Bill to all federal civil service workers.[1] However, this loss of a major funding source increased pressure on parties to solicit funding from corporate and individual wealth.

In the campaign of 1872, a group of wealthy New York Democrats pledged $10,000 each to pay for the costs of promoting the election. On the Republican side, one Ulysses S. Grant supporter alone contributed one fourth of the total finances. One historian said that never before was a candidate under such a great obligation to men of wealth. Vote buying and voter coercion were common in this era. After more standardized ballots were introduced, these practices continued, applying methods such as requiring voters to use carbon paper to record their vote publicly in order to be paid.

Boise Penrose mastered post-Pendleton Act corporate funding through extortionist tactics, such as squeeze bills (legislation threatening to tax or regulate business unless funds were contributed.) During his successful 1896 U.S. Senate campaign, he raised a quarter million dollars within 48 hours. He allegedly told supporters that they should send him to Congress to enable them to make even more money.

In 1896, a wealthy Ohio industrialist, shipping magnate and political operative, Mark Hanna became Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Hanna directly contributed $100,000 to the nomination campaign of fellow Ohioan William McKinley, but recognized that more would be needed to fund the general election campaign. Hanna systematized fund-raising from the business community. He assessed banks 0.25% of their capital, and corporations were assessed in relation to their profitability and perceived stake in the prosperity of the country. McKinley’s run became the prototype of the modern commercial advertising campaign, putting the President-to-be’s image on buttons, billboards, posters, and so on. Business supporters, determined to defeat the Democratic-populist William Jennings Bryan, were more than happy to give, and Hanna actually refunded or turned down what he considered to be “excessive” contributions that exceeded a business’s assessment.[citation needed]

Twentieth-century Progressive advocates, muckraking journalists, and political satirists argued to the general public that the policies of vote buying and excessive corporate and moneyed influence were abandoning the interests of millions of taxpayers. They advocated strong antitrust laws, restricting corporate lobbying and campaign contributions, and greater citizen participation and control, including standardized secret ballots, strict voter registration and women’s suffrage.

In his first term, President Theodore Roosevelt, following President McKinley’s assassination of 1901, began trust-busting and anti-corporate-influence activities, but fearing defeat, turned to bankers and industrialists for support in what turned out to be his 1904 landslide campaign. Roosevelt was embarrassed by his corporate financing and was unable to clear a suspicion of a quid pro quo exchange with E.H. Harriman for what was an eventually unfulfilled ambassador nomination. There was a resulting national call for reform, but Roosevelt claimed that it was legitimate to accept large contributions if there were no implied obligation. However, in his 1905 message to Congress following the election, he proposed that “contributions by corporations to any political committee or for any political purpose should be forbidden by law.” The proposal, however, included no restrictions on campaign contributions from the private individuals who owned and ran corporations. Roosevelt also called for public financing of federal candidates via their political parties. The movement for a national law to require disclosure of campaign expenditures, begun by the National Publicity Law Association, was supported by Roosevelt but delayed by Congress for a decade.

This first effort at wide-ranging reform resulted in the Tillman Act of 1907. Named for its sponsor, South Carolina Senator Ben Tillman, the Tillman Act prohibited corporations and nationally chartered (interstate) banks from making direct financial contributions to federal candidates. However, weak enforcement mechanisms made the Act ineffective. Disclosure requirements and spending limits for House and Senate candidates followed in 1910 and 1911. General contribution limits were enacted in the Federal Corrupt Practices Act (1925). An amendment to the Hatch Act of 1939 set an annual ceiling of $3 million for political parties’ campaign expenditures and $5,000 for individual campaign contributions. The Smith-Connally Act (1943) and Taft-Hartley Act (1947) extended the corporate ban to labor unions. |

FECA and the Watergate amendments

All of these efforts were largely ineffective, easily circumvented and rarely enforced. In 1971, however, Congress passed the Federal Election Campaign Act, requiring broad disclosure of campaign finance. In 1974, fueled by public reaction to the Watergate Scandal, Congress passed amendments to the Act establishing a comprehensive system of regulation and enforcement, including public financing of presidential campaigns and creation of a central enforcement agency, the Federal Election Commission. Other provisions included limits on contributions to campaigns and expenditures by campaigns, individuals, corporations and other political groups. However, in 1976 Buckley v. Valeo challenged restrictions in FECA as unconstitutional violations of free speech. The court struck down, as infringement on free speech, limits on candidate expenditures (unless the candidate accepts public financing) and certain other limits on spending.[1] In 1979, a FECA amendments package allowed the use of donations to political parties rather than candidates. The first time Congress enacted such reform.[2]

Reforms of the 1980s and 1990s

In 1986, several bills were killed in the U.S. Senate by bipartisan maneuvers which did not allow the bills to come up for a vote. The bill would impose strict controls for campaign fund raising. Later in 1988, legislative and legal setbacks on proposals designed to limit overall campaign spending by candidates were shelved after a Republican filibuster. In addition, a constitutional amendment to override a Supreme Court decision failed to get off the ground. In 1994, Senate Democrats had more bills blocked by Republicans including a bill setting spending limits and authorizing partial public financing of congressional elections. In 1996, bipartisan legislation for voluntary spending limits which rewards those who bare soft money is killed by a Republican filibuster.[2]

In 1997, Senators McCain and Feingold sought to eliminate soft money and TV advertising expenditures but the legislation was defeated by a Republican filibuster. Several different proposals were made in 1999 by both parties. The Campaign Integrity Act (H.R. 1867) proposed by Asa Hutchinson (R – Arkansas) put a ban on soft money and raised hard money limits. The Citizen Legislature & Political ACT (H.R. 1922) sponsored by Rep. John Doolittle (R – CA) would repeal all federal freedom ACT election contribution limits and expedite and expand disclosure. H.R. 417 Campaign Reform Act Shays-Meehan Bill, sponsored by Christopher Shays (R – CT) and Martin Meehan (D – MA). Would ban soft money and limit types of campaign advertising.[2]

Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002

The Congress passed the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), also called the McCain-Feingold bill after its chief sponsors, John McCain and Russ Feingold. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives on February 14, 2002 with 240 yeas and 189 nays including 6 members who did not vote. Final passage in the Senate came after supporters mustered the bare minimum of 60 votes needed to shut off debate. The bill passed the Senate, 60-40 on March 20, 2002, and was signed into law by President Bush on March 27, 2002. In signing the law, Bush expressed concerns about the constitutionality of parts of the legislation but concluded, “I believe that this legislation, although far from perfect, will improve the current financing system for Federal campaigns … Taken as a whole, this bill improves the current system of financing for Federal campaigns, and therefore I have signed it into law.” The bill was the first significant overhaul of federal campaign finance laws since the post-Watergate scandal era. Academic research has used game theory to explain Congress’s incentives to pass the Act.[3]

The BCRA was a mixed bag for those who wanted to remove big money from politics. It eliminated all soft money donations to the national party committees, but it also doubled the contribution limit of hard money, from $1,000 to $2,000 per election cycle, with a built-in increase for inflation. In addition, the bill aimed to curtail ads by non-party organizations by banning the use of corporate or union money to pay for “electioneering communications,” a term defined as broadcast advertising that identifies a federal candidate within 30 days of a primary or nominating convention, or 60 days of a general election. This provision of McCain-Feingold, sponsored by Maine Republican Olympia Snowe and Vermont Independent James Jeffords, as introduced applied only to for-profit corporations, but was extended to incorporate non-profit issue organizations, such as the Environmental Defense Fund or the National Rifle Association, as part of the “Wellstone Amendment,” sponsored by Senator Paul Wellstone.

The law was challenged as unconstitutional by groups and individuals including the California State Democratic Party, the National Rifle Association, and Republican Senator Mitch McConnell (Kentucky), the Senate Majority Whip. After moving through lower courts, in September 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case, McConnell v. FEC. On Wednesday, December 10, 2003, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that upheld the key provisions of McCain-Feingold; the vote on the court was 5 to 4. Justices John Paul Stevens and Sandra Day O’Connor wrote the majority opinion; they were joined by David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer, and opposed by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Antonin Scalia.

Since then, campaign finance limitations continue to be regulated in the Courts. In an interesting case, in 2005 in Washington state, Thurston County Judge Christopher Wickham ruled that media articles and segments were considered in-kind contributions under state law. The heart of the matter focused on the I-912 campaign to repeal a fuel tax, and specifically two broadcasters for Seattle conservative talker KVI. Judge Wickham’s ruling was eventually overturned on appeal in April 2007, with the Washington Supreme Court holding that on-air commentary was not covered by the State’s campaign finance laws. (No New Gas Tax v. San Juan County).

In 2006, the United States Supreme Court issued two decisions on campaign finance. In Wisconsin Right to Life v. Federal Election Commission, it held that certain advertisements might be constitutionally entitled to an exception from the ‘electioneering communications’ provisions of McCain-Feingold limiting broadcast ads that merely mention a federal candidate within 60 days of an election. On remand, a lower court then held that certain ads aired by Wisconsin Right to Life in fact merited such an exception. The Federal Election Commission appealed that decision, and in June 2007, the Supreme Court held in favor of Wisconsin Right to Life. In an opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Court declined to overturn the electioneering communications limits in their entirety, but established a broad exemption for any ad that could have a reasonable interpretation as an ad about legislative issues.

Also in 2006, the Supreme Court held that a Vermont law imposing mandatory limits on spending was unconstitutional, under the precedent of Buckley v. Valeo. In that case, Randall v. Sorrell, the Court also struck down Vermont’s contribution limits as unconstitutionally low, the first time that the Court had ever struck down a contribution limit.

In March 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments about whether or not the law could restrict advertising of a documentary about Hillary Clinton.[4] Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission was decided in January 2010, the Supreme Court finding that §441b’s restrictions on expenditures were invalid and could not be applied to Hillary: The Movie.

DISCLOSE Act of 2010

The DISCLOSE Act (S. 3628) was proposed in July 2010. The bill would have amended the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to prohibit foreign influence in federal elections, prohibit government contractors from making expenditures with respect to such elections, and it established additional disclosure requirements with respect to spending in such elections. The bill would impose new donor and contribution disclosure requirements on nearly all organizations that air political ads independently of candidates or the political parties. The legislation would require the sponsor of the ad to appear in it and take responsibility for it. President Obama argued that the bill would reduce foreign influence over American elections. Democrats needed at least one Republican to support the measure in order to get the 60 votes to overcome GOP procedural delays, but were unsuccessful.[5][6]

Voting with dollars

The voting with dollars plan would establish a system of modified public financing coupled with an anonymous campaign contribution process. It has two parts: patriot dollars and the secret donation booth. It was originally described in detail by Yale Law School professors Bruce Ackerman and Ian Ayres in their 2004 book Voting with Dollars: A new paradigm for campaign finance.[7] All voters would be given a $50 publicly funded voucher (Patriot dollars) to donate to federal political campaigns. All donations including both the $50 voucher and additional private contributions, must be made anonymously through the FEC. Ackerman and Ayres include model legislation in their book in addition to detailed discussion as to how such a system could be achieved and its legal basis.

Of the Patriot dollars (e.g. $50 per voter) given to voters to allocate, they propose $25 going to presidential campaigns, $15 to Senate campaigns, and $10 to House campaigns. Within those restrictions the voucher can be split among any number of candidates for any federal race and between the primary and general elections. At the end of the current election cycle any unspent portions of this voucher would expire and could not be rolled over to subsequent elections for that voter. In the context of the 2004 election cycle $50 multiplied by the approximately 120 million people who voted would have yielded about $6 billion in “public financing” compared to the approximate $4 billion spent in 2004 for all federal elections (House, Senate and Presidential races) combined.[8] Ackerman and Ayres argue that this system would pool voter money and force candidates to address issues of importance to a broad spectrum of voters. Additionally they argue this public finance scheme would address taxpayers’ concerns that they have “no say” in where public financing monies are spent, whereas in the Voting with dollars system each taxpayer who votes has discretion over their contribution.

The second aspect of the system increases some private donation limits, but all contributions must be made anonymously through the FEC. In this system, when a contributor make a donation to a campaign they send their money to the FEC indicating which campaign they want it to go to. The FEC masks the money and distributes it directly to the campaigns in randomized chunks over a number of days. Ackerman and Ayres compare this system to the reforms adopted in the late 19th century aimed to prevent vote buying, which led to our current secret ballot process. Prior to that time voting was conducted openly, allowing campaigns to confirm that voters cast ballots for the candidates they had been paid to support. Ackerman and Ayres contend that if candidates do not know for sure who is contributing to their campaigns they are unlikely to take unpopular stances to court large donors which could jeopardize donations flowing from voter vouchers. Conversely, large potential donors will not be able to gain political access or favorable legislation in return for their contributions since they cannot prove to candidates the supposed extent of their financial support.

Matching funds

Another method allows the candidates to raise funds from private donors, but provides matching funds for the first chunk of donations. For instance, the government might “match” the first $250 of every donation. This would effectively make small donations more valuable to a campaign, potentially leading them to put more effort into pursuing such donations, which are believed to have less of a corrupting effect than larger gifts and enhance the power of less-wealthy individuals. Such a system is currently in place in the U.S. presidential primaries. As of February 2008, there were fears that this system provided a safety net for losers in these races, as shown by loan taken out by John McCain’s campaign that used the promise of matching funds as collateral.[9] However, in February 2009 the Federal Election Commission found no violation of the law because McCain permissibly withdrew from the Matching Payment Program and thus was released from his obligations. It also found no reason to believe that a violation occurred as a result of the Committee’s reporting of McCain’s loan. The Commission closed the files.[10]

Clean elections

Another method, which supporters call clean money, clean elections, gives each candidate who chooses to participate a certain, set amount of money. In order to qualify for this money, the candidates must collect a specified number of signatures and small (usually $5) contributions. The candidates are not allowed to accept outside donations or to use their own personal money if they receive this public funding. Candidates receive matching funds, up to a limit, when they are outspent by privately-funded candidates, attacked by independent expenditures, or their opponent benefits from independent expenditures. This is the primary difference between clean money public financing systems and the presidential campaign system, which many have called “broken” because it provides no extra funds when candidates are attacked by 527s or other independent expenditure groups. Supporters claim that Clean Elections matching funds are so effective at leveling the playing field in Arizona that during the first full year of its implementation, disproportionate funding between candidates was a factor in only 2% of the races.[11] The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Davis v. Federal Election Commission, however, cast considerable doubt on the constitutionality of these provisions, and in 2011 the Supreme Court held that key provisions of the Arizona law – most notably its matching fund provisions – were unconstitutionalal in Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Free Enterprise Club PAC v. Bennett.

This procedure has been in place in races for all statewide and legislative offices in Arizona and Maine since 2000. Connecticut passed a Clean Elections law in 2005, along with the cities of Portland, Oregon and Albuquerque, New Mexico. 69% of the voters in Albuquerque voted Yes to Clean Elections. A 2006 poll showed that 85% of Arizonans familiar with their Clean Elections system thought it was important to Arizona voters. However, a clean elections initiative in California was defeated by a wide margin at the November 2006 election, with just 25.7% in favor, 74.3% opposed, and in 2008 Alaska voters rejected a clean elections proposal by a two to one margin.[12] Many other states (such as New Jersey) have some form of limited financial assistance for candidates, but New Jersey’s experiment with Clean Elections was ended in 2008, in part due to a sense that the program failed to accomplish its goals.[13] Wisconsin and Minnesota have had partial public funding since the 1970s, but the systems have largely fallen into desuetude.

A clause in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (“McCain-Feingold”) required the nonpartisan General Accounting Office to conduct a study of clean elections programs in Arizona and Maine. Although the ensuing report, issued in May 2003, cautioned that “it is too early to precisely draw causal linkages to resulting changes, if any, involving voter choice, electoral competition, interest group influence, campaign spending, and voter participation,” in none of these categories did the study GAO find positive results from clean elections systems.[14] A more recent study by the Center for Governmental Studies found that Clean Elections programs resulted in more candidates, more competition, more voter participation, and less influence-peddling.[15] However, a series of studies conducted in 2008 by the Center for Competitive Politics found that the programs in Maine, Arizona, and New Jersey had failed to accomplish their stated goals, including electing more women, reducing government spending, reducing special interest influence on elections, bringing more diverse backgrounds into the legislature, or meeting most other stated objectives, including increasing competition or voter participation.[16][17][18][19][20] These reports confirmed the results of an earlier study by the Goldwater Institute on Arizona’s program.[21]

Occupy movement-inspired constitutional amendments

In response to the Occupy Wall Street protests and the worldwide occupy movement calling for U.S. campaign finance reform eliminating corporate influence in politics, among other reforms, Representative Ted Deutch introduced the “Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy” (OCCUPIED) constitutional amendment on November 18, 2011.[22][23] The OCCUPIED amendment would outlaw the use of for-profit corporation money in U.S. election campaigns and give Congress and states the authority to create a public campaign finance system.[24] Unions and non-profit organizations will still be able to contribute to campaigns.[25] On November 1, 2011, Senator Tom Udall also introduced a constitutional amendment in Congress to reform campaign finance which would allow Congress and state legislatures to establish public campaign finance.[26] Two other constitutional campaign finance reform amendments were introduced in Congress in November, 2011.[27] Similar amendments have been advanced by Dylan Ratigan,[28] Karl Auerbach,[29] Cenk Uygur,[30] and others.[31][32]

Harvard law professor and Creative Commons board member Lawrence Lessig had called for a constitutional convention[33] in a September 24-25, 2011 conference co-chaired by the Tea Party Patriots‘ national coordinator,[34] in Lessig’s October 5 book, Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress – and a Plan to Stop It,[35] and at the Occupy protest in Washington, DC.[36] Reporter Dan Froomkin said the book offers a manifesto for the Occupy Wall Street protestors, focusing on the core problem of corruption in both political parties and their elections,[37] and Lessig provides credibility to the movement.[38] Lessig’s initial constitutional amendment would allow legislatures to limit political contributions from non-citizens, including corporations, anonymous organizations, and foreign nationals, and he also supports public campaign financing and electoral college reform to establish the one person, one vote principle.[39] Lessig’s web site convention.idea.informer.com allows anyone to propose and vote on constitutional amendments.[40] On October 15, the Occupy Wall Street Demands Working Group, published the 99 Percent Declaration[41] of demands, goals, and solutions, including a call to amend the U.S. Constitution to reform campaign finance.[42][43][44] Occupy movement protesters have joined the call for a constitutional amendment.[45][46][47][48]

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, on Jan, 2010, the US Supreme court ruled that the McCain-Feingold Act of 2002, the US federal law that regulates the financing of political campaigns, was in violation of corporations’ and unions’ First Amendment rights. Under the January 2010 ruling, corporations and unions are no longer barred from promoting the election of one candidate over another candidate.[49]

Ruling

Justice Kennedy delivered the opinion of the Court pp8 . “Federal law prohibits corporations and unions from using their general treasury funds to make independent expenditures for speech defined as an “electioneering communication” or for speech expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate. 2 U.S. C. §441b. Limits on electioneering communications were upheld in McConnell v. Federal Election Comm’n, 540 U.S. 93, 203–209(2003). The holding of McConnell rested to a large extent on an earlier case, Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, 494 U.S. 652 (1990). Austin had held that political speech may be banned based on the speaker’s corporate identity.”[50]

Dissent

Justice Stevens, J. wrote, in partial dissent:

The basic premise underlying the Court’s ruling is its iteration, and constant reiteration, of the proposition that the First Amendment bars regulatory distinctions based on a speaker’s identity, including its “identity” as a corporation. While that glittering generality has rhetorical appeal, it is not a correct statement of the law. Nor does it tell us when a corporation may engage in electioneering that some of its shareholders oppose. It does not even resolve the specific question whether Citizens United may be required to finance some of its messages with the money in its PAC. The conceit that corporations must be treated identically to natural persons in the political sphere is not only inaccurate but also inadequate to justify the Court’s disposition of this case.
In the context of election to public office, the distinction between corporate and human speakers is significant. Although they make enormous contributions to our society, corporations are not actually members of it. They cannot vote or run for office. Because they may be managed and controlled by nonresidents, their interests may conflict in fundamental respects with the interests of eligible voters. The financial resources, legal structure, and instrumental orientation of corporations raise legitimate concerns about their role in the electoral process. Our lawmakers have a compelling constitutional basis, if not also a democratic duty, to take measures designed to guard against the potentially deleterious effects of corporate spending in local and national races.[49]

Justice Stevens also wrote: “The Court’s ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path it has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution. Before turning to the question whether to overrule Austin and part of McConnell, it is important to explain why the Court should not be deciding that question.”[51]

Public response

Senator McCain, one of the two original sponsors of campaign finance reform, noted after the decisions that “campaign finance reform is dead” – but predicted a voter backlash once it became obvious how much money corporations and unions now could and would pour into campaigns.[52]

Mitch McConnell said “Our democracy depends upon free speech, not just for some but for all.”[53]

In a Washington Post-ABC News poll in early February 2010 it was found that roughly 80% of Americans were opposed to the January 2010 Supreme court’s ruling. The poll reveals relatively little difference of opinion on the issue among Democrats (85 percent opposed to the ruling), Republicans (76 percent) and independents (81 percent).[54] In response to the ruling, a grassroots, bipartisan group called Move to Amend was created to garner support for a constitutional amendment overturning corporate personhood and declaring that money is not speech. [55]

source—Wikipedia

Notable Campaign, Voting, and Election Laws that went to the Supreme Court.

Minor v. Happersett 88 U.S. 162 (1874) Fourteenth Amendment and the right to vote
Ray v. Blair 343 U.S. 214 (1952) state rights in the electoral college
Perez v. Brownell 356 U.S. 44 (1958) revocation of citizenship for voting in a foreign election
Gomillion v. Lightfoot 364 U.S. 339 (1960) race-based electoral districting
Gray v. Sanders 372 U.S. 368 (1963) “one man, one vote”
Wesberry v. Sanders 376 U.S. 1 (1964) “one man, one vote”
Reynolds v. Sims 377 U.S. 533 (1964) one man, one vote” (state senates)
South Carolina v. Katzenbach 383 U.S. 301 (1966) Voting Rights Act, Fifteenth Amendment
Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections 383 U.S. 663 (1966) poll taxes are unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause
Katzenbach v. Morgan 384 U.S. 641 (1966) voting rights, Section 5 power
Avery v. Midland County 390 U.S. 474 (1968) local government districts must conform to “one man, one vote
Kramer v. Union School District 395 U.S. 621 (1969) right to vote in a special election district
Oregon v. Mitchell 400 U.S. 112 (1970) age and voting rights in state elections
Cort v. Ash 422 U.S. 66 (1975) election law, implied cause of action
Buckley v. Valeo 424 U.S. 1 (1976) First Amendment and campaign finance reform
First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti 435 U.S. 765 (1978) First Amendment and corporate political contributions
Members of the City Council of the City of Los Angeles v. Taxpayers for Vincent 466 U.S. 789 (1984) First Amendment regulation of posting of campaign signs
McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission 514 U.S. 334 (1995) anonymous campaign literature under the First Amendment
U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton 514 U.S. 779 (1995) preventing states from enacting term limits to the US House and Senate
Rice v. Cayetano 528 U.S. 495 (2000) race-based voting restrictions for state government offices
Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System v. Southworth 529 U.S. 217 (2000) compulsory student fees to support political campus groups; 1st Amendment
California Democratic Party v. Jones 530 U.S. 567 (2000) freedom of association and political primary elections
Bush v. Gore 531 U.S. 98 (2000) vote recounts in presidential election, the only court decision to determine the winner of a presidential election
Republican Party of Minnesota v. White 536 U.S. 765 (2002) election of state judges, freedom of speech
McConnell v. FEC 540 U.S. 93 (2003) First Amendment; political speech
Randall v. Sorrell 548 U.S. 230 (2006) campaign finance laws which limit expenditures violate the First Amendment, and the anticorruption benefits of contribution limits must be weighed against their First Amendment costs
League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry 548 U.S. 399 (2006) Texas’s 2003 redistricting of District 23 constituted a violation of Latinos’ rights under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, however mid-decade redistricting is constitutional as long as it is not solely motivated by partisan gain
Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc. 551 U.S. 449 (2007) Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act‘s restriction on issue ads in election campaigns
Crawford v. Marion County Election Board 553 U.S. 181 (2008) constitutionality of requiring voters to show ID before voting
Davis v. Federal Election Commission 07-320 6/26/08 “Millionaire’s amendment” to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 violates the First Amendment
Citizens United v. FEC 08-205 1/21/10 whether federal campaign finance laws apply to a critical film about Senator Hillary Clinton intended to be shown in theaters and on-demand to cable subscribers
Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Mukasey 08-322 6/22/09 whether Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which gives theU.S. government authority to oversee state electoral-law changes, is no longer needed and is unconstitutional
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 35 other followers