The Media Exemption Puzzle of Campaign Finance Laws

U. Pa. L. Rev. Online, Vol. 164, 2016

UGA Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2016-23

7 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2016

See all articles by Sonja West

Sonja West

University of Georgia School of Law

Date Written: June 2, 2016

Abstract

In the 2010 case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the United States Supreme Court solidified the media exemption dilemma in campaign finance law. When attempting to address concerns about corporate campaign expenditures (i.e., corporate political speech), legislatures are now stuck between a rock and a hard place. Regulate media corporations, and they violate press freedoms. Exempt media corporations from the regulations, however, and they are accused of speaker discrimination.

Thus the question of how to treat the press in campaign finance law can no longer be ignored. Can legislatures, without running afoul of the First Amendment, ever regulate the political speech of nonmedia speakers? The answer is, quite simply, “yes.” The unique textual, historic and functional role of the press establishes that the Constitution both allows and requires the press to be treated differently.

Keywords: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Campaign Finance, Media, Press, First Amendment, Constitutional Law, Congress, Legislation, Media Corporations, Freedom of the Press, Corporate Political Spending, Press Clause

JEL Classification: K19

Suggested Citation

West, Sonja, The Media Exemption Puzzle of Campaign Finance Laws (June 2, 2016). U. Pa. L. Rev. Online, Vol. 164, 2016; UGA Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2016-23. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2788909

Sonja West (Contact Author)

University of Georgia School of Law ( email )

225 Herty Drive
Athens, GA 30602
United States
(706) 542-5145 (Phone)
(706) 542-5556 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uga.edu/academics/profiles/west.html

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