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A divided U.S. Supreme Court struck down decades-old restrictions on corporate campaign spending, reversing two of its precedents and freeing companies to conduct advertising campaigns that explicitly try to sway voters.
The 5-4 ruling went beyond the circumstances in the case before the justices, a dispute over a documentary film attacking then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The majority, invoking the Constitution’s free-speech clause, said the government lacks a legitimate basis to restrict independent campaign expenditures by companies.
“The government may regulate corporate political speech through disclaimer and disclosure requirements, but it may not suppress that speech altogether,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority.