Protecting Speech From the Heart: How Citizens United Strikes Down Political Speech Restrictions on Churches and Charities
Paul D. Weitzel
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
May 20, 2011
Texas Review of Law & Politics, Forthcoming
This paper argues that tax deductible charities have a constitutional right to speak about politics. 501(c)(3) organizations include all tax deductible charities, including religious groups. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission abrogated the ban on political speech by 501(c)(3) organizations by rejecting the reasoning in Regan v. Taxation with Representation of Washington. Regan found that 501(c)(3) organizations could be prohibited from speaking because they would still be able to speak through affiliate organizations. Citizens United rejected this argument when applied to for-profit corporations, and that reasoning applies equally to non-profit organizations. Citizens United also rejected the distinction between subsidies and punishments, which Regan relied on in its holding.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 27
Keywords: 501(c)(3), Citizens UnitedAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: May 25, 2011 ; Last revised: October 31, 2011
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