Online Exclusive: Challenge to Election Reform Law Fails
The landmark January Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC got its first major application in a D.C. Circuit decision striking down donation limits for individual groups advocating for candidates.
Tara Malloy, associate legal counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, wrote an amicus brief in the case. She says the decision requires the groups and candidates to work separately, however it still allows groups to buy influence "even without quid pro quo corruption proved."
One expected result of SpeechNow.org is a reduction of what Malloy calls "sham issue advocacy." To circumvent the contribution restrictions, groups would declare tax exempt status under Section 527 of the tax code, then run ad campaigns ostensibly about issues that really were sideways slaps at candidates. Among these groups are the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and the MoveOn.org Voter Fund, both of which were fined for illegal activities during the 2004 presidential elections.