The Corner

Whoa

A federal judge just ruled that the ban on direct corporate giving to candidates is unconstitutional:

A federal court in Alexandria, Va. on Thursday struck down a federal ban on corporate campaign contributions, in a case with potentially dramatic ramifications for a campaign finance regulatory system under siege by legal and regulatory attacks.

The ruling, from the U.S. District Court for Eastern Virginia, piggybacked on a January 2010 Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, that allowed corporations to spend money on ads supporting or opposing candidates.

Citizens United stopped short of allowing corporations to give directly to candidates, but it did find that corporations are entitled to free speech rights.

District Judge James Cacheris ruled that, based on Citizens United, corporations should be allowed to contribute directly to candidates’ campaigns.“If human beings can make direct campaign contributions … and if, in Citizens United’s interpretation … corporations and human beings are entitled to equal political speech rights, then corporations must also be able to contribute within (the federal) limits,” Cacheris wrote in a 52-page decision.

The ruling came in a criminal case brought by the U.S. government against two men – William Danielczyk, Jr. and Eugene Biagi – alleging they skirted campaign contribution limits by reimbursing their employees for $186,600 in contributions to Hillary Clinton’s campaigns for Senate in 2006 and president in 2008.

The two men were charged with two counts of reimbursing contributions, as well as conspiracy, obstruction of justice and using corporate funds to reimburse contributions.

What hath Dave Bossie wrought?

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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