Constitution Daily

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Supreme Court denies appeal on direct campaign cash from corporations

April 8, 2014 by Scott Bomboy


In a brief follow-up to last week’s historic McCutcheon campaign financing decision, the Supreme Court denied a case on Monday that could have opened the doors to direct cash contributions to candidates from corporations.

The Justices denied without comment the case of Iowa Right to Life v. Tooker. A lower court in had upheld a federal ban on direct contributions from corporations to candidates in federal elections.

The move was seen by court observers as signaling the Justices’ reluctance, at least for now, to expand on the McCutcheon decision.

In this case, the Iowa Right to Life Committee Inc, a pro-life group, challenged the contribution ban, as a free speech and equal protection violation under the Constitution. Iowa Right to Life sued after the state changed its campaign regulations after the 2010 Citizens United ruling, in which said corporations could make unlimited independent expenditures not coordinated with a campaign.

Under the regulations, for-profit and nonprofit companies, banks, savings and loans, credit unions and insurance companies can’t give directly to candidates.

In last week’s McCutcheon case, the Court eliminated aggregated campaign contribution limits by individuals during a two-year federal election cycle.

Campaign limits in some form have existed since 1974, and they were upheld by the Supreme Court in its 1976 campaign finance case Buckley v. Valeo.

Specific limits remain in effect for how much a donor can spend on each candidate, but the only overall financial limit is the number of possible campaigns and candidates that can receive funds.


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