Judge Strikes Ban on Corporate Political Contributions

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A federal judge has ruled that businesses can give money directly to political candidates.

The Obama administration had asked U.S. District Judge James Cacheris to reconsider his ruling after he struck down the ban on those contributions two weeks ago.

Cacheris upheld his ruling Thursday, tossing out part of an indictment against two people charged with illegally reimbursing donors to Hillary Clinton's 2006 Senate and 2008 presidential campaigns.

Cacheris said that under the Supreme Court's landmark Citizens United decision last year, corporations have the right to give to federal candidates.

The ruling from the federal judge is the first of its kind. The Citizens United case had applied only to corporate spending on campaign activities by independent groups.

This included ads which had been run by third parties to favor one side, not to direct contributions to the candidates themselves.

Cacheris noted in his ruling that only one other court has addressed the issue in the wake of Citizens United ruling. A federal judge in Minnesota ruled the other way, allowing a state ban on corporate contributions to stand.

"For better or worse, Citizens United held that there is no distinction between an individual and a corporation with respect to political speech," Cacheris wrote in his 52-page opinion.

"Thus, if an individual can make direct contributions within limits, a corporation cannot be banned from doing the same thing," he said.

Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, discussed how important the judge's ruling is, on "The 700 Club" Friday, June 10.

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