In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations and others have a First Amendment right to raise and spend unlimited money on elections. Few modern Supreme Court decisions have received as much public attention, or backlash, as Citizens United v. FEC. The U.S. has since seen a surge in megadonors and a rise in dark money, or undisclosed campaign donations. A tiny sliver of Americans now wield more power than at any time since Watergate, too often at the expense of ordinary citizens whose needs are not prioritized.
Over the long term, Citizens United and the Supreme Court’s other harmful campaign finance rulings must be overturned. To this end, the Brennan Center documents the harmful effects of big money in politics and works to mobilize scholars and activists around legal principles that allow all Americans’ voices to be heard. Where possible we also work with policymakers and activists to draft and enact corrective legislation to blunt the worst effects of the court’s rulings.