Federal Election Commission v. Beaumont, 539 U.S. 146, 10 (2003)

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Cite as: 539 U. S. 146 (2003)

Opinion of the Court

see CIO, 335 U. S., at 113; see also Austin, supra, at 673-678 (Brennan, J., concurring).

Quite aside from war-chest corruption and the interests of contributors and owners, however, another reason for regulating corporate electoral involvement has emerged with restrictions on individual contributions, and recent cases have recognized that restricting contributions by various organizations hedges against their use as conduits for "circumvention of [valid] contribution limits." Federal Election Comm'n v. Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Comm., 533 U. S. 431, 456, and n. 18 (2001); see Austin, supra, at 664. To the degree that a corporation could contribute to political candidates, the individuals "who created it, who own it, or whom it employs," Cedric Kushner Promotions, Ltd. v. King, 533 U. S. 158, 163 (2001), could exceed the bounds imposed on their own contributions by diverting money through the corporation, cf. Colorado Republican, 533 U. S., at 446-447. As we said on the subject of limiting coordinated expenditures by political parties, experience "demonstrates how candidates, donors, and parties test the limits of the current law, and it shows beyond serious doubt how contribution limits would be eroded if inducement to circumvent them were enhanced." Id., at 457.

In sum, our cases on campaign finance regulation represent respect for the "legislative judgment that the special characteristics of the corporate structure require particularly careful regulation." National Right to Work, supra, at 209-210. And we have understood that such deference to legislative choice is warranted particularly when Congress regulates campaign contributions, carrying as they do a plain threat to political integrity and a plain warrant to counter the appearance and reality of corruption and the misuse of corporate advantages. See, e. g., Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U. S. 1, 26-28, 47 (1976) (per curiam). As we said in Colorado Republican, "limits on contributions are more clearly justified by a link to political corruption than limits on other


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