Fourth Circuit Upholds Ban on Corporate Contributions

It’s been an active day in the courts even beyond the health care rulings.  In the Danielczyk case, the Fourth Circuit has reversed the Virginia district court opinion striking down the federal ban on corporate contributions to candidates in the wake of Citizens United.

Rick had urged a prompt appeal of the district court’s outlier opinion, and the Fourth Circuit appears to have responded.  The court not only found Danielczyk squarely governed by Beaumont v. FEC (the Supreme Court case upholding the federal ban on corporate contributions in 2003), but emphasized the distinction between the direct contributions at issue here and the independent expenditures at issue in Citizens United.

So now it looks like uniformity in the circuits: the government may ban corporate contributions, but not independent corporate expenditures.  Which returns to placing even more emphasis on the next front in the campaign finance wars: the conditions for coordination that mark the difference between one and the other.

Update:  Reports from WaPo, Bloomberg, and the AP; reactions from the Center for Competitive Politics and Campaign Legal Center.  More to come, I’m sure.

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