Federal Election Commission v. Beaumont, 539 U.S. 146, 5 (2003)

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Opinion of the Court

(b)(1). NCRL challenges the constitutionality of 441b and the FEC's regulations implementing that section, 11 CFR 114.2(b), 114.10 (2003), but only so far as they apply to NCRL. The corporation is organized under the laws of North Carolina to provide counseling to pregnant women and to urge alternatives to abortion, and as a nonprofit advocacy corporation it is exempted from federal taxation by 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U. S. C. 501(c)(4).1 It has no shareholders and, although it receives some donations from traditional business corporations, it is "overwhelmingly funded by private contributions from individuals." App. 14. NCRL has made contributions and expenditures in connection with state elections, but not federal, owing to 2 U. S. C. 441b. Instead, it has established a PAC, the North Carolina Right to Life, Inc., Political Action Committee, which has contributed to federal candidates. See North Carolina Right to Life, Inc. v. Bartlett, 168 F. 3d 705, 709 (CA4 1999), cert. denied, 528 U. S. 1153 (2000).

The District Court granted summary judgment to NCRL and held 441b unconstitutional as applied to the corporation, both as to direct contributions and independent expenditures. 137 F. Supp. 2d 648 (EDNC 2000). A divided Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed, 278 F. 3d 261 (2002), relying primarily on Massachusetts Citizens for Life, in which this Court held it unconstitutional to apply the statute to independent expenditures by Massachusetts Citizens for Life, Inc., a nonprofit advocacy corporation in some re-1 Section 501(c)(4)(A) grants exemption to "[c]ivic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare, . . . the net earnings of which are devoted exclusively to charitable, educational, or recreational purposes." An organization "may carry on lawful political activities and remain exempt under section 501(c)(4) as long as it is primarily engaged in activities that promote social welfare." Rev. Rul. 81-95, 1981-1 Cum. Bull. 332. Unlike contributions to 501(c)(3) organizations, donations to those recognized under 501(c)(4) are not tax deductible. See Regan v. Taxation With Representation of Wash., 461 U. S. 540, 543 (1983).

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