Federal Election Commission v. Beaumont, 539 U.S. 146, 11 (2003)

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Opinion of the Court

kinds of . . . political spending are (corruption being understood not only as quid pro quo agreements, but also as undue influence on an officeholder's judgment, and the appearance of such influence)." 533 U. S., at 440-441 (citation omitted).


That historical prologue would discourage any broadside attack on corporate campaign finance regulation or regulation of corporate contributions, and NCRL accordingly questions 441b only to the extent the law places nonprofit advocacy corporations like itself under the general ban on direct contributions. But not even this more focused challenge can claim a blank slate, for Judge Gregory rightly said in his dissent that our explanation in National Right to Work all but decided the issue against NCRL's position.

National Right to Work addressed the provision of 441b restricting a nonstock corporation to its membership when soliciting contributions to its PAC,4 and we considered whether a nonprofit advocacy corporation without members of the usual sort could be held to violate the law by soliciting a donation to its PAC from any individual who had at one time contributed to the corporation. See 459 U. S., at 199- 200. We sustained the FEC's position that a fund drive as broad as this went beyond the solicitation of "members" permitted by 441b, and we invoked the history distilled above in holding that the statutory restriction was no infringement on those First Amendment associational rights closely akin to speech. Id., at 206-209. We concluded that the congressional judgment to regulate corporate political involvement

4 Section 441b(b)(4)(A) bars a corporation from soliciting contributions to a PAC established by the corporation, except from stockholders or other specified categories of persons. Section 441b(b)(4)(C), the specific provision at issue in National Right to Work, provides, in relevant part, that 441b(b)(4)(A) "shall not prevent a . . . corporation without capital stock . . . from soliciting contributions to [a PAC established by the corporation] from members of such . . . corporation."

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