U.S. v. Danielczyk (Lawyers Weekly No. 12-01-0704, 12 pp.) (Gregory, J.) No. 11-4667, June 28, 2012; USDC at Alexandria, Va. (Cacheris, J.) 4th Cir.
Holding: In this prosecution of two corporate executives for an alleged scheme of recruiting donors and reimbursing their contributions to Hillary Clinton’s 2006 and 2008 Senate and Presidential Campaigns, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reverses dismissal of a charge of corporation contributions in violation of 2 U.S.C. § 441b(a).
The district court reasoned that in light of Citizens United v. FEC, 130 S. Ct. 876 (2010), § 441b(a) is unconstitutional as applied to appellees. We disagree and reverse the district court’s grant of the motion to dismiss count 4 and paragraph 10(b) of the indictment.
Citizens United struck down § 441b(a)’s prohibition against corporate independent expenditures, reasoning in part that the ban was not supported by the interest in preventing quid pro quo corruption, and further, that the First Amendment does not allow political speech restrictions based on a speaker’s corporate identity. We hold that § 441b(a) is not unconstitutional as applied to appellees. FEC v. Beaumont, 539 U.S. 146 (2003), clearly supports the constitutionality of § 441b(a), and Citizens United, a case that addresses corporate expenditures, does not undermine Beaumont’s reasoning on this point. Appellees contend Beaumont’s holding was limited to nonprofit corporations, but we do not read Beaumont so narrowly.
We hold the district court erred in granting appellees’ motion to dismiss count 4 and paragraph 10(b) is reversed.