• Last updated on November 11, 2022

This decision extended the impact of Buckley v. Valeo to referendum campaigns.

The Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, struck down a clause in Massachusetts law restricting the amount of money corporations could contribute to support or oppose referenda. Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr.,Powell, Lewis F., Jr.;First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti[First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti] wrote the 5-4 majority opinion, which extended the Buckley v. Valeo[case]Buckley v. Valeo[Buckley v. Valeo] (1976) distinction between contributions to campaigns to influence opinion and those to candidates. Although corporations could contribute freely to referenda, unlike individuals, they could be prohibited from spending money directly on a candidate or outside a candidate’s campaign to benefit his or her efforts. Justices Byron R. White and William H. Rehnquist separately dissented strongly, asserting that states should be able to limit corporate campaign expenditures.Political speech, financing;First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti[First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti]

Buckley v. Valeo

Elections

Financing political speech

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