Constitutionalizing Corruption: Citizens United, its Conceptions of Political Corruption, and the Implications for Judicial Elections Campaigns
24 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2012
Date Written: February 22, 2012
CITIZENS UNITED V. FEC invalidated a provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (“BCRA”) that prohibited corporations and unions from spending money on “electioneering communication.” The decision — which was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, a former lobbyist — was based on an exceedingly narrow definition of political corruption. This Article argues that the Court’s definition flies in the face of federal bribery laws, and that it fails to draw a meaningful distinction between corrupt and permissible political action. The Court’s poor reasoning is all the more unfortunate since, as this Article also explains, the Citizens United decision appears to be applicable to judicial elections as well.
Keywords: first amendment, campaign finance, citizens united, bribery
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