For Immediate Release Citizens United Ruling: Expert Analysis by Teleconference

Posted on January 11, 2010


The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue opinions Tuesday and Wednesday, according to SCOTUSblog, and the Court could announce a decision in the case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, a ruling that may greatly expand the role of corporations and labor unions in financing American elections. The Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause, Democracy 21 and Public Campaign will hold a telephone press conference on the day the decision is announced featuring campaign finance experts who will give legal analysis, respond to the decision and talk about what it means for the 2010 mid-term elections and beyond.

Tele-Press Conference Details

Who: Trevor Potter, president and general counsel, Campaign Legal Center

Bob Edgar, president and CEO of Common Cause

Fred Wertheimer, president, Democracy 21

Nick Nyhart, president, Public Campaign

What: Campaign finance experts give legal analysis and reaction to Citizens United decision

When: Noon ET on the day of the decision

Where: The press/bloggers should dial in at 800-657-1263

The conference ID number is 50359057

Or ask for the "Citizens United call."

Background

The Supreme Court in the Citizens United case may strike down the long-standing ban on express political advocacy by corporations and unions. Corporations and unions have been prohibited from spending money from their general funds on express advocacy at the federal level since 1947, when Congress passed the Taft-Hartley Act.

Prohibiting corporations and unions from using treasury money to influence elections was upheld by the Supreme Court in Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of Commerce (1990), and most recently in McConnell v. FEC (2003) after the passage of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA). In McConnell, the Court noted that, "Congress' power to prohibit corporations and unions from using funds in their treasuries to finance advertisements expressly advocating the election or defeat of candidates in federal elections has been firmly embedded in our law."

If the Supreme Court strikes down the ban on express political advocacy by corporations and unions, it could greatly increase the spending by such groups to influence federal campaigns. It would also open the door to the corrupting influence that would flow from such expenditures, as corporations and unions would use their spending, or the threat or promise of such spending, as a means to influence decision-making by Congress.

Office: Common Cause National

Issues: Money in Politics

Tags: Fighting Big Money

Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.

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