Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, a case many — including my GovBeat colleague Niraj — have dubbed the next Citizens United. McCutcheon challenges the government-set aggregate limits on how much an individual can contribute to federal candidates. It’s the latest salvo in a coordinated drive by conservative lawyers to undermine campaign finance reforms. And those conservative lawyers aren’t waiting for McCutcheon to be decided before they tee up their next assault — this time on rules against corporations contributing to candidates. Last week, Indiana attorney Jim Bopp Jr., on behalf of the Iowa Right to Life Committee, asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review Iowa’s ban on political contributions by corporations. Bopp says Iowa’s rules, which allow labor unions to give but prohibit corporations from donating to candidates, violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection guarantee, along with the right to free speech.
“There’s a really important fairness issue here,” Bopp said in an interview. “Targeting corporations and permitting unions betrays a real partisan agenda, and if we’re going to have these kinds of laws, they’re going to have to, in my view, treat corporations and unions similarly.”
This isn’t Bopp’s first attempt to overturn a ban on corporate contributions. In 2003, Bopp argued before the Supreme Court that North Carolina Right to Life’s right to free speech was infringed by the Federal Election Campaign Act. The Court ruled against Bopp, in a 7-2 opinion authored by Justice David Souter which held that prohibiting direct contributions from nonprofit corporations was consistent with the First Amendment.
Full Article: The next, next Citizens United.