Common Cause MA Applauds State Supreme Judicial Court Decision to Ban Corporate Contributions to Political Campaigns
Common Cause MA supports today’s state Supreme Judicial Court’s decision, which concluded that a ban on corporate contributions to political campaigns helps prevent corruption and does not violate business’ First Amendment rights. The full decision may be found here: https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2018/09/06/12413.pdf
“We are pleased and unsurprised by the Court’s unanimous decision to uphold Massachusetts’ ban on corporate campaign contributions,” said Pamela Wilmot, Executive Director of Common Cause Massachusetts, who filed an amicus brief in the case.
“More than a half-dozen circuit court cases from around the country and the US Supreme Court have concluded the same thing– that the state may limit contributions directly to candidates from business corporations. There is too much money in politics. We do not need another loophole to allow even more,” added Wilmot.
In the opinion, released today, Chief Justice Ralph Gants wrote, “Both history and common sense have demonstrated that, when corporations make contributions to political candidates, there is a risk of corruption, both actual and perceived.”
The decision was in response to a lawsuit filed by two business owners one from Pepperell and another from Ashland, MA, who argued that the ban on corporate contributions was unconstitutional, infringed on their right to free speech and harmed their right to equal protection. They are both members of the pro-business 501(c4) group Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance.
Attorneys for the state counter-argued that the laws are necessary to prevent corruption.
Although Massachusetts businesses cannot contribute to a candidate or a candidate’s political action committee, they can make independent expenditures, which cannot be coordinated with a campaign.
Massachusetts, 21 other US states and the federal government ban corporate contributions to state and local candidates.