January 25, 2010

Ron Jacobs quoted in DC Examiner on Citizens United Supreme Court decision

2 min

Political Law Practice Group partner Ron Jacobs was quoted in a January 23, 2010 article in the DC Examiner on the long-awaited Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC.

In the January 21, 2010 decision, the Court struck down a federal ban on "independent expenditures" and "electioneering communications" made by nonprofit and for-profit corporations. Both for- and nonprofit corporations may now use their general treasury funds (as opposed to their PACs) to pay for electioneering communications.

While many saw the decision as favoring small government and anti-regulation Republicans, it's also likely that private interests will use the extra allowances to support those already in power -- the Democrats. Others believe that the ruling, combined with a pervasive anti-Washington sentiment around the nation, will prove detrimental for incumbents.

"I don't think it's a slam-dunk for Republicans," said Jacobs. "Corporations are less likely to spend money trying to knock off the chairman of the committee that oversees them -- the safer move is to come all out for that chairman."

The ruling also effectively stripped away an advantage enjoyed by union groups that may struggle to compete financially with corporations but have the ability to organize a large number of people, largely for Democrats. Jacobs said it seems "impractical" for corporations or advocacy groups to try fielding large armies of block walkers as a result of the ruling.