McCutcheon v. FEC (2014) invalidated some campaign regulations that imposed
limits on political contributions. The Court said the regulations directly
limited political speech.
Campaign Finance and Other Political Campaign Regulations
The regulation of political campaigns has led to numerous Supreme Court rulings involving free speech rights embodied in the First Amendment. Issues have included ballot access, rights of political parties, electioneering and what can be said during a campaign, campaign dislcosure requirements and contribution limits.
Following is a list of Supreme Court cases involving political campaign regulations and campaign finance.
McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003) upheld major provisions of
the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, rejecting claims that the act
stifled First Amendment rights.
The Supreme Court overturned a regulation that limited how a campaign could
repay a candidate’s personal loan saying in Federal Election Commission v.
Cruz that the law violated the First Amendment by overburdening free speech.
The U.S. Supreme Court in November 2019 vacated a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals ruling that had upheld an Alaska state law limiting campaign
contributions. The Court in its per curiam decision instructed the 9th
Circuit to consider its decision in a 2006 case in which the Supreme Court
invalidated a similar Vermont law limiting contributions.
Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett (2011) struck
down on First Amendment grounds a law that sought to reduce corruption in
Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce (1990) upheld against a First
Amendment challenge a law prohibiting nonprofit corporations from using
general revenues for politics.
In a landmark 2010 decision, a divided Supreme Court used the First
Amendment to invalidate a campaign regulation that banned corporate and
union spending in political elections.
FEC v. Beaumont (2003) said laws barring corporations’ direct candidate
contributions do not violate the First Amendment rights of nonprofit