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Elections, Campaigning, and Good Ol' Corporations

Updated on November 21, 2014
Republicans & Democrats
Republicans & Democrats | Source

by Amber Maccione

Is it unconstitutional for corporations to fund political broadcasts during elections?

The 1st Amendment protects our freedom of religion, speech, assembly, and petition. The Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission was a case about the freedom of speech within election campaigning. The Supreme Court ruled in that the government cannot regulate political speech under the 1st Amendment rights of the Constitution (Sullivan & Adams 2010). The Supreme Court decision struck down other laws that had banned corporations from electioneering communications such as movies and T.V. advertisements, but they upheld the decision that corporations had to disclose political advertising sponsors in order to give voters information that might be pertinent to them making an educated decision on who they might vote for (Oyez 2012 & Denniston 2012).

The majority stated that speech could not be limited under the 1st Amendment. Justice Steven’s though disagreed saying that corporations aren’t members of society and should be limited (Oyez 2012).


Are Corporations People?

I believe that the 1st Amendment applies to all U.S. citizens. Corporations are made up of U.S. citizens and therefore should be protected under this amendment. Therefore, I would stand by the majority in saying that corporations should not be limited. They should have the right to speak freely about electoral candidates. I do, however, feel that disclosure is also important. Since corporations are not one person but a group, disclosure about who is sponsoring this opinion should be made known to the audience that is being subjected to their viewpoint in order for the audience to make their own educated opinion on whether they agree or not. The 1st Amendment does protect everyone in regards to free speech, but it does not protect in regards to disclosure. I think if you are going to sponsor something or claim something, your name should be behind it.

References

(2012). Citizens united v. federal election commission. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. Retrieved from http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2008/2008_08_205

Denniston, L. (2012, June 25). Opinion recap: Citizens united solidified. Retrieved from http://www.scotusblog.com/2012/06/opinion-recap-citizens-united-solidified/

Sullivan, K. & Admas, T. (2010, March 2). “Summary of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.” Retrieved from http://www.cga.ct.gov/2010/rpt/2010-R-0124.htm

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