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American National Government Final Exam UARK-merp!

Terms in this set (164)

Background: McCain- Feingold Act Prohibeted unlimited party spending (soft money) and banned certain sorts of political attack advertisements from interest groups in the last weeks of a campaign




A provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act prohibiting unions, corporations and not-for-profit organizations from broadcasting electioneering communications within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary election violates the free speech clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. United States District Court for the District of Columbia reversed.


Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. ___ (2010), is a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court, which held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions. The nonprofit corporation Citizens United wanted to air a film critical of Hillary Clinton and to advertise the film during television broadcasts in apparent violation of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (commonly known as the McCain-Feingold Act or "BCRA"). In a 5-4 decision, the Court held that portions of BCRA §203 violated the First Amendment.
The decision reached the Supreme Court on appeal from a July 2008 decision by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Section 203 of BCRA defined an "electioneering communication" as a broadcast, cable, or satellite communication that mentioned a candidate within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary, and prohibited such expenditures by corporations and unions. The lower court held that §203 of BCRA applied and prohibited Citizens United from advertising the film Hillary: The Movie in broadcasts or paying to have it shown on television within 30 days of the 2008 Democratic primaries. The Supreme Court reversed, striking down those provisions of BCRA that prohibited corporations (including nonprofit corporations) and unions from spending on "electioneering communications".
The decision overruled Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce (1990) and partially overruled McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003). The Court, however, upheld requirements for public disclosure by sponsors of advertisements (BCRA §201 and §311). The case did not involve the federal ban on direct contributions from corporations or unions to candidate campaigns or political parties, which remain illegal in races for federal office.

SO: Individuals can contribute up to $2000 to a campaign
PACs can contribute up to $5000 to a campaign but can run their own political advertising campaigns separate from the individual candidates
Individuals can give unlimited money to PACs

****so it's a loophole...