Federal Election Commission v. Beaumont, 539 U.S. 146, 12 (2003)

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

Opinion of the Court

"warrants considerable deference" and "reflects a permissible assessment of the dangers posed by [corporations] to the electoral process." Id., at 207-211.

It would be hard to read our conclusion in National Right to Work, that the PAC solicitation restrictions were constitutional, except on the practical understanding that the corporation's capacity to make contributions was legitimately limited to indirect donations within the scope allowed to PACs. See, e. g., id., at 208 (reviewing both "the statutory prohibitions and exceptions"). In fact, we specifically rejected the argument made here, that deference to congressional judgments about proper limits on corporate contributions turns on details of corporate form or the affluence of particular corporations. In the same breath, we remarked on the broad applicability of 441b to "corporations and labor unions without great financial resources, as well as those more fortunately situated," and made a point of refusing to "second-guess a legislative determination as to the need for prophylactic measures where corruption is the evil feared." Id., at 210.

Later cases have repeatedly acknowledged, without questioning, the reading of National Right to Work as generally approving the 441b prohibition on direct contributions, even by nonprofit corporations "without great financial resources." Ibid. In National Conservative Political Action Committee, for example, we not only spoke of National Right to Work as consistent with "the well-established constitutional validity of legislative regulation of corporate contributions to candidates for public office," but went on to reaffirm that the Court in that case had "rightly concluded that Congress might include, along with labor unions and corporations traditionally prohibited from making contributions to political candidates, membership corporations, though contributions by the latter might not exhibit all of the evil that contributions by traditional economically organized corporations exhibit." 470 U. S., at 495, 500; see id., at 500 (describ-


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