Corporate Speech

Political Speech

Political speech by corporations lacks the same First Amendment protection that individuals and the media enjoy. For fear that corporations will employ their financial influence to contol what is supposed to be a free marketplace of ideas. Therefore, the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 (also known as the Taft-Hartley Act) was enacted to prevent corporations from making contributions to or expenditures on bahalf of any political candidate running for federal office.

Currently, senators McCain and Feingold drafted a major legislative attempt to regulate political speech on the Internet. The bill passed on April 2, 2001.

The McCain-Feingold bill expands the definition of federal "candidates" to include not only candidates and their campaigns, but also citizens "acting on behalf of" federal candidates for federal office.

In Regulating Political Speech, Thomas R. Eddlem writes that these expanded definitions, could have the effect of forcing all organized political expression and political opinions, including those expressed on the Internet, under governmental regulations. Bill opponent Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Texas) stated on September 14, 1999, "The First Amendment, America's premier political reform, was not written for pornographers and flag burners. It was drafted to allow citizens to petition and criticize their governments."

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