In light of this morning's Supreme Court decision regarding corporate spending on federal campaigns, a few readers submitted questions to my earlier post on the subject. I decided to pull two questions from there and make a separate posting. The answers are from Peter Overby, NPR's Money, Power & Influence correspondent and our in-house expert on campaign finance matters.
A Marie (STL612) wrote:
Where do 203(c)'s and so on fall into this new bill? Are PACs [political action committees] simply obsolete now?
Peter's response: PACs aren't obsolete because they can give money directly to candidates, which the corporations themselves still can't do. I'm assuming you mean 501c's? Short answer is I'm not sure. Legally they're corporations so would be able to do what they want. But their tax status remains unchanged, and that's what limits them; e.g., 501c3's can't play in partisan politics. For 501c4's, the deal is they can use corporate money to talk about candidates more easily.
Amy Hollis (house_whisperer) wrote:
Okay, so they can pay for the ads directly now. Are they still required to state who paid for the ad?
Peter's response: Yes. The disclosure provisions remain intact. If you engage in express advocacy — vote for, throw the bum out, etc. — you have to say who's paying.
In a Twitter posting about "what changes" are expected with the court decision, I received these responses:
From jepaco: Do you mean, other than decades of precedent?
From lvdjgarcia: Corp will no longer need to set up PACs to give money & it's unlimited $$...BIG issue.
From PunditMom: Corps will complete full political takeover?