Historical Background
​        Introduction to CU V FEC
        The View From 2015
​        The Path
​        Powell Memorandum

Key Aspects of Citizens United
        Wake Up Call
        Citizen Disillusionment
        Protections of the First Amendment Rights

Impact of Money in Politics
        Campaign Spending and Voter Behavior
        Campaign Contributions and Policy Making
        David and Goliath
        Contributions Help Access to Officials

Regulatory Agencies
        Federal Election Commission (FEC)
        Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
        Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
        Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

National Action and Responses
        American Anti-Corruption Act
        Federal Campaign Finance Legislation Since CU
        Federal Public Campaign Funding Efforts
        LWV Updated Campaign Finance Positions
        League of Women Voters Work on Campaign Finance Reform

Actions in Washington State
        PDLs at Risk
        Protecting WAs PDLs
        Role of Wealth in WA Politics
        Washington Campaign Finance Legislation Since CU
        WA Constitution Amendment Initiatives   
        WA Public Campaign Financing

Forum Tools
        Guidelines for Forums
        Democracy in the Balance (PowerPoint)
        Money in Politics and the Aftermath of CU (PowerPoint)

Citizens United
What is "Citizens United"?

“Citizens United” is a lawsuit brought by a lobbying group called Citizens United against the Federal Elections Commission in 2008. The lawsuit was heard by the US Supreme Court after a series of previous judgments in lower courts.

The case originated when a lobbying group called Citizens United wanted to air a film critical of Hillary Clinton and to advertise the film during television broadcasts. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) denied their request so "Citizens United" sued the FEC.

When the case was heard by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, the Court held that the McCain–Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act applied, and it prohibited Citizens United from advertising the film "Hillary: The Movie" in broadcasts or paying to have it shown on television within 30 days of the 2008 Democratic primaries. 

That decision was appealed to the US Supreme Court, who ruled in 2010 that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by a nonprofit corporation. 

Purpose of the Tool Kit

This tool kit is intended to provide a wide range of background material that can be used to understand the Citizens United case and its implications and tools for conducting a public forum. We encourage you to use this toolkit in forums, in your communications and as a resource guide. Please share the link with members and others in your community.

Guide to the Toolkit

Following are brief overviews and descriptions of each discussion area in this toolkit. You can navigate to a discussion area by clicking on the hyperlinks in this panel or by clicking on one of the headings or subheadings on the right hand side bar of each page.

Historical Background
​This section lists research papers that give a historical overview of the 2010 Supreme Court decision of Citizens United v Federal Elections Commission (FEC).

Key Aspects of Citizens United
​This section provides articles discussing how the ruling affects corporate freedoms and the rights of individual citizens, as well as the amounts, types, sources and disclosure of money spent in our political process.

Impact of Money in Politics
​The Citizens United ruling changed the landscape of political campaign spending, significantly altering how, and how much, and how secretively “special interests” now spend in their efforts to affect the passage or defeat of initiatives, impact candidate races and influence the behavior of candidates and elected officials. These alterations to the political process have impacted the behavior of candidates, elected officials, and voters while also impeding voter access to elected officials.

Regulatory Agencies 
​There are four Federal regulatory agencies which have legal jurisdiction allowing them to curb campaign spending. They are: 1) the Federal Election Commission (FEC), 2) the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), 3) the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and, 4) Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). Papers in this section discuss these agencies.

National Action and Responses
​Papers in this section discuss nationwide efforts to address issues with campaign finance reform.

Actions in Washington State
Papers in this section discuss campaign finance issues and legislation in Washington state..

Forum Tools
In this section are tools that can be used in forums to stimulate discussion of campaign finance.

Jackie Aase,
Samanthe Sheffer
Toyoko Tsukuda
Janet Winans

Reviewers and Editors
Sarah Crosby
Judy Deiro
Maurie Louis
Jenaline Pyle
Paul Spencer
Cynthia Stewart
Ann Strosnider
Lyz Kurnitz-Thurlow

Website Creator
Maurie Louis

Questions About the Toolkit
League of Women Voters of Washington
1402 Third Avenue, Suite 430
Seattle, WA 98101
206.622.8961 | 800.419.2596 |​