A landmark ruling on a 5-4 vote in the Citizens United case was handed down by the Supreme Court. Corporations and nonprofits may spend general funds on election-related activity. No more need to set up political action committees in order to have a constrained voice. They can pay for their own ads, though they cannot contribute directly to campaigns.
From AFP's summary of the 183 page opinion:
The Supreme Court also ruled that any campaign ads not financed by the candidate or their party must be clearly marked with the name of the sponsor.
Ignoring statements by the administration of President Barack Obama defending the previous law, the court said it did not think using campaign finance limits would lead to corruption.
They also rejected the argument that company share-holders could see their money being used in support of political views which they did not agree with.
The political dialogue in America will become more varied and intense, with for-profit and nonprofit corporations able to spend money in order to influence politics. The changes should be far-reaching. This diminishes the power of the left, overall, as corporations now have the ability to speak as loud or louder than unions, who have been unfettered.
Richard Viguerie, who invented mass direct mail solicitation empowering conservatism in the pre-net era, knows how this will empower the grass roots anti-incumbent movement:
"Today's Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case means that the anti-incumbent furor that has been growing is partly released from the shackles created by ‘incumbent protection' election and campaign finance laws.
"The dirty little secret about all campaign finance laws passed by Congress since 1972 is that they were designed to protect incumbents by stifling competition.
"This ruling is especially important for advocacy causes and organizations, which may now more freely express opinions about incumbents."