Venable partners Ron Jacobs and George Constantine provided commentary on the recent Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United campaign finance case for the March 1, 2010 edition of Association Bisnow. The Court's decision allows associations, corporations and other groups to use monies from the organization's general fund to independently promote or oppose a political candidate.
According to Jacobs and Constantine, Political Action Committees (PACs) are still the only way for organizations to contribute to candidates, and will become even more important because political campaigns will require more funding to rise above the increased background noise from corporations and organizations running their own election-time advertisements.
According to the article, while the ruling could open up new visibility to associations, not everyone will be willing to jump right in because there aren't detailed regulations on how disclosures will work. Jacobs and Constantine say one of the top questions they've been asked by associations is how much groups will be required to disclose. The Venable attorneys say nothing is likely to be determined before this election cycle, which means organizations taking advantage of the ruling will be operating in somewhat of a gray area.