In the latest GOP effort to accord corporations the same rights as people, the Republican National Committee wants to strike down the century-old ban against direct corporate contributions to candidates and party committees. The ban, part of a 1907 anti-corruption law that helped curb the influence of corporate robber barons, is one of the last bulwarks of campaign finance law left after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision two years ago. Despite the explosion of so-called independent super PACs, which can collect unlimited contributions, corporations remain banned from making contributions directly to candidates or party committees.
The RNC outlined its position in an amicus brief filed on Tuesday with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals — ironically in support of two Virginia Democrats who were charged with reimbursing donors to Hillary Clinton. The RNC has a lot at stake here institutionally, as well as philosophically. Part of its argument to the court was that the current state of affairs isn’t fair to party committees like itself.
The brief complains that the corporate ban “artificially disadvantages political party and candidate committees by forcing them to rely on aggregating small-dollar donations from individuals while allowing other political actors, such as independent-expenditure-only political action committees, to receive unlimited corporate donations.”