“Minnesota’s law hinders associations from participating in the political debate and limits their access to the citizenry and the government. The law manifestly discourages associations, particularly small associations with limited resources, from engaging in protected political speech,” the ruling said.
However, the appeals court also upheld a Minnesota law that bans corporations from directly donating to political candidates. It said the U.S. Supreme Court has drawn a distinction between laws restricting independent political expenditures and laws restricting corporate donations to political candidates.
A lawyer for the groups, James Bopp Jr., called the ruling a “big victory” for the plaintiffs, who object to Minnesota’s requirement that corporations conduct all their political speech through political action committees, which are subject to the state’s disclosure requirements. Bopp said the court’s finding that the law is “most likely unconstitutional” has the same practical effect as formally declaring it unconstitutional.
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