Citizens United

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Almost a century ago, back to the time when the modern corporation was created, sprung the Progressive era that flourished with political reforms and social activism. Along with the corporations also came laws that have always prohibited or limited the use of corporate money in elections as a result of Progressive reform’s efforts to eliminate social and political problems, especially corruption. These specific laws have been in place up until January 21, 2010 during the landmark case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, when the Supreme Court ruled with a 5-4 majority that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections. As a result, the court also overruled its 1990 case Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, which upheld restrictions on corporate spending to support or oppose political candidates, and partially overruled the 2003 case McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, which upheld the part of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 that restricted campaign spending by corporations and unions. The case formed when prior to the 2008 primary elections, Citizens United, a nonprofit corporation produced a 90 minute documentary entitled Hillary: The Movie. The movie conveyed opinions about whether Hillary Clinton, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, was fit for the presidency. However, The Movie falls within the definition of "electioneering communications" under the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, a federal act designed to prevent "big money" from wrongly influencing federal elections-which, as well as other things, prohibits corporate financing of "electioneering communications" and enforces “mandatory disclosure and disclaimer requirements on such communications.” The District Court for the District of Columbia denied Citizens United's preliminary injunction motion to enjoin the Federal Election Commission ("FEC") from enforcing these provisions of the Bipartisan Campaign...
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