Federal Appeals Court Strikes Minn. Disclosure Law, Aiding Corporate America’s Political Power

Jeremy Leaming

American Constitution Society Blog

September 6, 2012

"A  federal appeals court has provided another victory for corporate America’s efforts to influence politicians, political parties and the nation’s elections. Big business hardly needed such a victory, especially since the U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United v. FEC scrapped some significant campaign finance regulation laws thereby making it far easier for corporations to spend boatloads of money on local, state and federal elections of all kinds.

In a 6-5 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit temporarily blocked a provision of a Minnesota campaign finance law requiring corporations to regularly report on their political expenditures. Some rightwing and business groups challenged the provision arguing that political expenditures are protected by the First Amendment and any laws, including disclosure ones, that hinder the ability of corporations to spend on elections are unconstitutional.

The majority for the Eighth Circuit, citing Supreme Court precedent including Citizens United, said Minnesota’s disclosure provision would prove too burdensome for corporations. The provision, the majority claimed would force a company 'to decide whether exercising its constitutional right is worth the time and expense of entering a long-term morass of regulatory red tape.' "

"The group, Free Speech For People, is advocating for a constitutional amendment. The group, co-founded by Jeffrey Clements, says it works to counter “the misuse of corporate power and restore republican democracy to the people. Clements is also author of an ACS Issue Brief on Citizens United, and the book, Corporations Are Not People."

(Continued at ACS Blog. Click here to read the full article.)