As expected, the Supreme Court struck down prohibitions on corporations, and likely unions as well, from spending their money in support of or in opposition to candidates for political office. Restrictions on direct contributions to candidates remain in place.
The justices ruled 5-4 along what were called ideological lines to free up cash. The case in question was Citizens United v. FEC, with Justice Anthony Kennedy, the closest to the center, siding with the conservative wing.
Kennedy sided with Citizens United on free speech grounds. John Paul Stevens, in dissent, said the ruling threatens the integrity of elected institutions nationwide.
According to the Associated Press, it also threatens corporate and union campaign speech restrictions extant in some 24 states.
This comes after the same court ruled against a part of the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act that restricted organizations from advertising in the weeks leading up to an election in the Wisconsin Right to Life case.
Political action committees, which often make donations to candidates, remain beholden to restrictions on donations.
RBR-TVBR observation: The electioneering cashflow spigot is unthrottled yet again – we can’t even begin to guess what this will mean for stations this political year, other than it’s likely to mean more green, and we’re not talking about the environment.