The United States Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission said it is unconstitutional to limit the amount of money that corporations (and trade unions) can spend on independent political broadcasts in candidate elections. The court’s rationale was that this kind of political spending was a form of free speech.
The Citizens United ruling covered only corporate-funded political broadcasts created by so-called “independent” groups, which are organizations that are not directly tied to candidate campaigns — although “independent” groups can (and do) advocate for or against specific candidates. This ruling is a problem for democracy because it gives corporations far more spending power in elections than individuals. In addition, because these independent groups don’t have to disclose where they get their money, Citizens United creates a way for unlimited amounts of secret money to flood our elections.
In fact, within a year of the ruling, millions of dollars, often from unknown sources, poured into elections across America, including right here in North Carolina. Follow the links below for more specifics on the problems associated with Citizens United and what people are doing to fight back.
These organizations have numerous fact sheets, issue briefs, and other resources on Citizens United and money in politics, plus ways to take action!