What does “political committee” mean after Citizens United? With the opinion the Supreme Court invites corporations into the world of express advocacy in support of candidates, independent expenditures. Grab the statute, 2 USC 431(4):
The term “political committee” means— (A) any committee, club, association, or other group of persons which receives contributions aggregating in excess of $1,000 during a calendar year or which makes expenditures aggregating in excess of $1,000 during a calendar year. . .
So what about your humble 501(c)(4) or corporate behemoth that wants to spend $10,000 or $10 million on independent expenditures supporting the next Reubin Askew? What if the expenditure is 1% or 99% (or somewhere in between, say 50%) of the corporation’s [intentionally blank]. Major purpose, anyone? Should courts look to a corporation’s major purpose, for any purpose? The “major purpose” issue has been the topic of informative debate for years, and last year’s commentary from Steve Hoersting and Robert Bauer provide good overviews for what’s at stake. Of course, those comments were written long before the stakes got higher last Thursday around 10:00 a.m. Speechnow will be argued next week before the D.C. Circuit.
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