RECLAIM DEMOCRACY: ACLU shifts stance on campaign spending, needs to go further

April 22, 2010

Since 2003, the organization Reclaim Democracy has pushed the ACLU to rethink its claim that money = speech regarding investments in political campaigns and its position equating corporate communications with free speech, beginning when the ACLU took Nike Corporation's side in the infamous "corporate right to lie" dispute (Nike v Kasky). Reclaim Democracy has gathered more than 4000 endorsements for a sign-on letter asking the ACLU to halt its advocacy for those doctrines.

On April 19, the ACLU board announced that it will revise the organization's position on campaign contributions and some spending limits. The ACLU now approves of campaign spending limits as a condition of voluntary public financing plans and of setting "reasonable limits on campaign contributions to candidates."

However, the ACLU continues to maintain that corporate spending to influence elections is protected by the 1st amendment, and The ACLU submitted a brief (pdf) to the Supreme Court in Citizens United, arguing to overturn decades-old precedent limiting the power of corporations to spend company funds in efforts to elect or defeat specific candidates.

Reclaim Democracy continues to press ACLU to rethink its position on corporate election spending, and is urging opponents of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision to add their names to a letter calling on the ACLU to recognize that corporations are not persons, and are therefore not entitled to 1st-amendment protection.

More Info: 

Original report from Reclaim Democracy here...