Sarah Lee, Communications Director,
Center for Competitive Politics
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Center for Competitive Politics yesterday filed an amicus brief in U.S. v. Danielczyk, a case that began in May of 2011 when a federal judge in Virginia struck down the ban on direct corporate contributions to federal candidates. The case is currently before the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
CCP filed what is known as a “friend of the court brief” disagreeing with the government’s argument that corporate contributions to candidates – even if they are limited to the same amounts individuals can contribute – can be constitutionally prohibited because of their corrupting influence.
In the brief, Legal Director Allen Dickerson makes the point that limitations on campaign speech are only constitutional if they advance an important government interest, and while corruption and the appearance of corruption fulfill that interest, the government failed to offer evidence of corruption because they neglected the experiences of the 50 states. Over half of the states, the brief maintains, permit contributions similar to those at issue in Danielczyk.
“Indeed, the state with the fewest per capita corruption convictions, Oregon, not only allows corporate contributions, but does so without any monetary limits,” said Dickerson. “Conversely, four of the five states with the highest corruption rates entirely ban corporate contributions. In short, there is no reason to believe that allowing corporate contributions – especially when they are subject to the same limits as individual contributions – actually leads to any corruption.”
Oral arguments have not yet been scheduled in the case.