The recent Supreme Court decision to lift the ban on free speech allows businesses to sponsor political advertising. This is a change that Congress and the FEC are fighting because officials worry it will compromise the nation’s electoral system and make business formation a political practice. Still, a report from the Wall Street Journal considers how much the Supreme Court ruling will actually change corporate expenditures. Prior to the ruling, 28 states allowed corporate campaigns for state races.
Additionally, until 2003 corporations had been able to spend unlimited sums on “issue ads” that criticized or praised candidates, though no explicit voting recommendations were given. According to the source, campaign finance reformers have always argued these were the function equivalents of corporate campaigning.
Corporations have also been granted the right to contribute up to $10,000 per election cycle to candidates under Political Action Committees. Even with this legal allowance, only 60 percent of Fortune 500s have a PAC, and just 5 percent of PACs actually reach the $10,000 limit.
Politically-minded entrepreneurs considering business formation might be able to support their candidates regardless of how the Supreme Court ruling turns out, and concerned citizens might find the ruling only marginally impacts the electoral process.