Tag Archives: campaignfinance

Sunlight is the Best Disinfectant: Public Disclosure of Electoral Advocacy in Union Member Communications

“In 1948, the Supreme Court held in United States v. CIO that the statutory ban on direct union spending in federal elections could not be applied to electoral advocacy by leaders of an organization directed at the members of that same organization. As a result, federal and state laws now generally exempt such internal communications from the definition of “expenditure” under campaign finance laws. But in its landmark 2010 decision Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court declared the ban on direct corporate campaign spending itself unconstitutional. The Federal Election Commission soon thereafter announced that the ruling would also apply to unions. There is now no doubt that an organization such as a union or a corporation may directly spend money on electoral advocacy. Given this framework, this Note argues that internal communications between the leaders of an organization — in particular, a union — and its members that directly advocate for or against the election of a particular candidate can and should be subject to mandated public disclosure.”

Sophie Mancall-Bitel, Sunlight is the Best Disinfectant: Public Disclosure of Electoral Advocacy in Union Member Communications, in Volume 48, Issue 2 of the Journal of Law and Social Problems.

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