Monday, July 02, 2012
Citizens United Doesn't Undermine Corporate Contribution Prohibition
Danielczyk: Danielczyk and Biagi were officers at Galen Capital who arranged for others to make contributions to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in 2008 and be reimbursed by Galen. As a result, they were indicted on multiple counts, including one (Count Four) that charged them with causing contributions of corporate money to a candidate for federal office (in excess of $25,000) and conspiring to do so. They moved to dismiss Count Four, arguing that the statute was unconstitutional in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United. The district court agreed, holding that the statute at issue in Citizens United, as it reads now, treats corporate and individual contributions differently.
The Government appealed and the Fourth Circuit reversed the district court. The Court relied on a pre-Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court that upheld the statute at issue against an earlier First Amendment challenge. It rejected Danielczyk and Biagi's argument that the prior decision was no longer valid in light of Citizens United and that, at any rate, it was limited to nonprofit corporations (the party at issue in that case), rather than for-profit corporations. It reversed the district court and remanded the case for further proceedings.