Open season for political ads

A Supreme Court decision says corporations can spend freely to support or defeat a federal candidate.

By Kim Peterson Jan 21, 2010 1:45PM
Know your insurance rights © Photodisc Green / Getty ImagesThe Supreme Court delivered a political shocker today, overturning a law that limited the amount of money corporations and labor unions can spend on candidates.

The move is widely considered a boost for Republicans in the upcoming midyear elections.

The court's decision struck down parts of a 2002 campaign finance law crafted by U.S. Sens. John McCain and Russ Feingold. The 5-4 decision was a bitter one, reports The New York Times, and "was a doctrinal earthquake but also a political and practical one."

Before now, companies and unions weren't allowed to spend money on television ads or billboards supporting (or booing) a federal candidate, according to the Los Angeles Times. But the court said the First Amendment does allow for that.

Experts tell the Times that the decision opens the floodgates for millions of dollars to pour into political advertising this fall. Republicans, they said, will benefit the most.

Companies still can't contribute directly to a candidate, however, the Times reports.

One dissenting justice, John Paul Stevens, described the decision as "a radical change in the law," one that "dramatically enhances the role of corporations and unions -- and the narrow interests they represent -- in determining who will hold public office."
0Comments

DATA PROVIDERS

Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.

STOCK SCOUTER

StockScouter rates stocks from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, using a system of advanced mathematics to determine a stock's expected risk and return. Ratings are displayed on a bell curve, meaning there will be fewer ratings of 1 and 10 and far more of 4 through 7.

108
108 rated 1
257
257 rated 2
439
439 rated 3
626
626 rated 4
499
499 rated 5
530
530 rated 6
713
713 rated 7
522
522 rated 8
339
339 rated 9
136
136 rated 10
12345678910

Top Picks

SYMBOLNAMERATING
UPLULTRA PETROLEUM Corp10
EOGEOG RESOURCES Inc10
SWNSOUTHWESTERN ENERGY COMPANY10
TAT&T Inc9
COPCONOCOPHILLIPS9
More

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

ABOUT

Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.

Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.

Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.