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Will Citizens United v. FEC Give More Political Power to Corporations?

40 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 1 Sep 2010

Raymond J. La Raja

University of Massachusetts at Amherst - Department of Political Science

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

This paper assesses the effect of the Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, on politics and policies. The ruling gives corporations the constitutionally-protected right to spend money on political broadcasting to defeat or support candidates. The analysis compares states with and without the ban on corporate political spending to observe whether differences exist with respect to 3 factors: the amount of business-related money in elections, the electoral outcomes, and policy consequences. Overall, the results suggest that Citizens United will likely increase independent spending by business groups, particularly on behalf of Republican candidates. But it seems likely that the overall effect of removing the corporate spending ban is that all groups will increase election-related spending. Moreover, corporations will continue to emphasize traditional strategies of giving contributions through PACs. There is no evidence that lifting a ban on corporate spending will help elect more Republicans or tilt policies toward business interests.

Keywords: campaign finance, elections, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

Suggested Citation

La Raja, Raymond J., Will Citizens United v. FEC Give More Political Power to Corporations? (2010). APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1642175

Raymond J. La Raja (Contact Author)

University of Massachusetts at Amherst - Department of Political Science ( email )

200 Hicks Way, Thompson Hall
Amherst, MA 01003
United States
413.545-6182 (Phone)

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