Citizens Not United: The Lack of Stockholder Voluntariness in Corporate Political Speech

7 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2012

See all articles by Elizabeth Pollman

Elizabeth Pollman

Professor of Law; Co-Director, University of Pennsylvania Law School – Institute for Law and Economics

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

As the Supreme Court reconsiders prior decisions upholding limits on corporate electioneering from general funds, this Essay suggests that the longstanding concern about the lack of stockholder assent to corporate political speech is more compelling than ever. Patterns of U.S. stockholding have significantly changed in the past several decades so as to heighten the concern and caution against a broad overruling of precedents. Stockholders' ability to sell their securities or pursue a derivative action, and other means of "corporate democracy," do not alleviate the concern. A broad decision in favor of Citizens United could leave even stockholders who carefully screen and monitor their investments at risk of having money they invested used for political advocacy they oppose.

Keywords: Citizens United, corporate political speech, corporate political spending, corporate speech, shareholder voluntariness, stockholder voluntariness, Bellotti

Suggested Citation

Pollman, Elizabeth, Citizens Not United: The Lack of Stockholder Voluntariness in Corporate Political Speech (2009). 119 Yale L.J. Online 53 (2009), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2186305

Elizabeth Pollman (Contact Author)

Professor of Law; Co-Director, University of Pennsylvania Law School – Institute for Law and Economics ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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