High Court Rips Up Corporate Campaign Donation Limits

5-4 ruling repeals part of McCain-Feingold
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 21, 2010 9:34 AM CST
In this March 5, 2009 file photo, the Supreme Court Building is seen in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, FILE)

(Newser) – The Supreme Court has ruled that corporations may spend freely to support or oppose candidates for president and Congress, easing decades-old limits on their participation in federal campaigns. By a 5-4 vote, the court today overturned a 20-year-old ruling that said corporations can be prohibited from using money from their general treasuries to pay for campaign ads. The decision threatens limits imposed on such spending by 24 states.

The justices also struck down part of the landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill that barred union- and corporate-paid issue ads in the closing days of election campaigns. The decision, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, removes limits on independent expenditures that are not coordinated with candidates' campaigns. It leaves in place a prohibition on direct contributions to candidates from corporations and unions.

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