Federal Election Commission v. Beaumont, 539 U.S. 146, 13 (2003)

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158

FEDERAL ELECTION COMM'N v. BEAUMONT

Opinion of the Court

ing National Right to Work as giving "proper deference to a congressional determination of the need for a prophylactic rule"). Relying again on National Right to Work, we made a similar point in Austin when we sustained Michigan's ban on direct corporate contributions, even though the ban "include[d] within its scope closely held corporations that do not possess vast reservoirs of capital." 494 U. S., at 661. "Although some closely held corporations, just as some publicly held ones, may not have accumulated significant amounts of wealth, they receive from the State the special benefits conferred by the corporate structure and present the potential for distorting the political process. This potential for distortion justifies [the state law's] general applicability to all corporations." Ibid.

But National Right to Work does not stand alone in its bearing on the issue here, and equal significance must be accorded to Massachusetts Citizens for Life, the very case upon which NCRL and the Court of Appeals have placed principal reliance. There, we held the prohibition on independent expenditures under 441b unconstitutional as applied to a nonprofit advocacy corporation. While the majority explained generally that the "potential for unfair deployment of wealth for political purposes" fell short of justifying a ban on expenditures by groups like Massachusetts Citizens for Life that "do not pose that danger of corruption," the majority's response to the dissent pointed to a different resolution of the present case. 479 U. S., at 259. The Chief Justice's dissenting opinion noted that Massachusetts Citizens for Life "was not unlike" the corporation at issue in National Right to Work, which he read as supporting the ban on independent expenditures. 479 U. S., at 269. Without disagreeing about the similarity of the two organizations, the majority nonetheless distinguished National Right to Work on the ground of its addressing regulation of contributions, not expenditures. See 479 U. S., at 259-260 ("[R]estrictions on contributions require less com-

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