Federal Election Commission v. Beaumont, 539 U.S. 146, 9 (2003)

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Opinion of the Court

"State law grants corporations special advantages—such as limited liability, perpetual life, and favorable treatment of the accumulation and distribution of assets— that enhance their ability to attract capital and to deploy their resources in ways that maximize the return on their shareholders' investments. These state-created advantages not only allow corporations to play a dominant role in the Nation's economy, but also permit them to use 'resources amassed in the economic marketplace' to obtain 'an unfair advantage in the political marketplace.' " 494 U. S., at 658-659 (quoting Massachusetts Citizens for Life, supra, at 257).

Hence, the public interest in "restrict[ing] the influence of political war chests funneled through the corporate form." National Conservative Political Action Comm., supra, at 500-501; see National Right to Work, supra, at 207 ("[S]ubstantial aggregations of wealth amassed by the special advantages which go with the corporate form of organization should not be converted into political 'war chests' which could be used to incur political debts from legislators").

As these excerpts from recent opinions show, not only has the original ban on direct corporate contributions endured, but so have the original rationales for the law. In barring corporate earnings from conversion into political "war chests," the ban was and is intended to "preven[t] corruption or the appearance of corruption." National Conservative Political Action Comm., supra, at 496-497; see also First Nat. Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, 435 U. S. 765, 788, n. 26 (1978) ("The importance of the governmental interest in preventing [corruption] has never been doubted"). But the ban has always done further duty in protecting "the individuals who have paid money into a corporation or union for purposes other than the support of candidates from having that money used to support political candidates to whom they may be opposed." National Right to Work, supra, at 208;

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