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This will be a short diary, but I wanted to have something on record here regarding this case. With the recent focus on McCutcheon, even those who follow campaign finance law may have missed this case because the Court refused to grant certiorari, thereby upholding an Iowa law, and by extension the Tillman Act. The Tillman Act of 1907 makes it illegal for corporations to make direct contributions from their treasuries to the campaigns of candidates for federal office. Here is a link to an excellent summary of the case, The Bullet Democracy Dodged, from The Brennen Center for Justice by Ciara Torres-Spelliscy.

The case is Iowa Right to Life Committee, Inc. v Tooker and by not granting certiorari the Court let stand a 2003 case, FEC v Buemont, which upheld the ban on direct corporate contributions to federal candidates, keeping the Tillman Act in force as well state laws that also ban corporations from making direct contributions to candidates in state and local elections.

Iowa has some of the strictest campaign finance laws in the US. In addition to not allowing corporate contributions it is also one of only three states that require the board of directors of a corporation to approve any independent political expenditures.

Affirming The Tillman Act and Iowa law, allows states to beef up certain aspects of their campaign finance laws, and in particular direct contributions by corporations in state elections.

Just a note on a couple of issues that some find confusing. Corporate PACs are funded by individuals and never include any cash from corporate treasuries. Therefore The Tillman Act does not cover them. The 2012 Montana case, American Tradition Partnership, Inc. v Bullock, where the SCOTUS struck down a 1912 Montana law that outlawed corporations from independent expenditures, was not about campaign contributions. A very good summary of that case from is here:

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