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AP: Federal Judge Says Corporations Can Give Directly to Candidates

By Josh Feit May 28, 2011

A federal judge in Virginia, confirming fears raised by liberals about the precedent set by 2010's Citizens United ruling, says corporations can donate directly to candidates. (The Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United that corporations could give directly to political campaigning by non-profits.) [pullquote]Washington State already allowed corporations to donate directly to candidates.[/pullquote]

The U.S. District Court in Virginia said that the underlying logic of Citizens United makes restrictions on corporate giving to candidates unenforceable:
"For better or worse, Citizens United held that there is no distinction between an individual and a corporation with respect to political speech," the Alexandria, Va., judge wrote. "Thus, if an individual can make direct contributions ... a corporation cannot be banned from doing the same thing."

Long before Citizens United, Washington State already allowed corporations to donate directly to candidates  (with limits) at the local level, and, as we've seen from the high-dollar local initiative campaigns, state law also allows direct giving to political committees for ballot measure campaigns—without limits (witness BP's hefty donations to Tim Eyman's I-1053 campaign.)
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