Judge: Corporate donations ban unconstitutional

May 27, 2011 - 11:29 AM

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A judge has ruled that the campaign finance law banning corporations from making contributions to federal candidates is unconstitutional.

In a ruling issued late Thursday, U.S. District Judge James Cacheris tossed out part of the indictment against two men accused of illegally reimbursing donors to Hillary Clinton's Senate and presidential campaigns.

Cacheris says that under last year's Citizens United Supreme Court case, corporations enjoy the same right as people to contribute to campaigns.

The ruling is the first of its kind. The Citizens United case had applied only to independent corporate expenditures, not to actual campaign contributions.

In court papers, prosecutors defending the law said overturning the ban on corporate contributions would ignore a century of legal precedent.