Federal Election Commission v. Beaumont, 539 U.S. 146, 15 (2003)

Page:   Index   Previous  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  Next

160

FEDERAL ELECTION COMM'N v. BEAUMONT

Opinion of the Court

ing potential underlying the corporate ban may indeed be implicated by advocacy corporations. They, like their forprofit counterparts, benefit from significant "state-created advantages," Austin, supra, at 659, and may well be able to amass substantial "political 'war chests,' " National Right to Work, 459 U. S., at 207. Not all corporations that qualify for favorable tax treatment under 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code lack substantial resources, and the category covers some of the Nation's most politically powerful organizations, including the AARP, the National Rifle Association, and the Sierra Club.6 Nonprofit advocacy corporations are, moreover, no less susceptible than traditional business companies to misuse as conduits for circumventing the contribution limits imposed on individuals. Cf. Austin, supra, at 664 (noting that a nonprofit corporation is capable of "serv[ing] as a conduit for corporate political spending").7

U. S. 197, 208 (1982); cf. Nixon v. Shrink Missouri Government PAC, 528 U. S. 377, 388-389 (2000).

6 See http://www.aarp.org/press/disclosure.html (as visited June 12, 2003) (available in Clerk of Court's case file) (AARP); http://www.give.org/ reports/index.asp (as visited June 12, 2003) (available in Clerk of Court's case file) (National Rifle Association and Sierra Club). These examples answer NCRL's argument that the Massachusetts Citizens for Life exception is "self-limiting." See Brief for Respondents 27 ("If [a Massachusetts Citizens for Life]-type corporation begins generating or receiving substantial business income or business corporation contributions, by definition, it automatically is no longer [a Massachusetts Citizens for Life]-type corporation" (citing Federal Election Comm'n v. Massachusetts Citizens for Life, Inc., 479 U. S. 238, 263-264 (1986))). The nonprofit advocacy corporations mentioned (one of which has, in fact, been granted "[Massachusetts Citizens for Life]-type" status by a Court of Appeals, see, e. g., FEC v. National Rifle Assn., 254 F. 3d 173, 192 (CADC 2001)) show that "political 'war chests' " may be amassed simply from members' contributions. 459 U. S., at 207.

7 NCRL suggests that the Government's interest in combating circumvention of the campaign finance laws would be sufficiently met by allowing limited contributions subject to the earmarking rule of 441a(a)(8), which provides that "contributions which are in any way earmarked or otherwise directed through an intermediate or conduit to [a] candidate" are treated as contributions to the candidate (thus triggering the disclosure require-

Page:   Index   Previous  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  Next

Last modified: October 4, 2007