In the last 12 months, more than 1,500 people submitted cases to FIRE when their rights were in jeopardy.

Hear their stories — and how we're fighting back — by subscribing today.

First Amendment Library:
Louis J. Caruso


In this appeal, we must determine whether § 54(1) of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act, 1976 Mich. Pub. Acts 388, violates either the First or the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Section 54(1) prohibits corporations from using corporate treasury funds for independent expenditures in support of, or in opposition to, any candidate in elections for state office. Mich. Comp. Laws § 169.254(1) (1979). Corporations *655 are allowed, however, to make such expenditures from segregated funds used solely for political purposes. § 169.255(1). In response to a challenge brought by the Michigan State Chamber of Commerce (Chamber), the Sixth Circuit held that § 54(1) could not be applied to the Chamber, a Michigan nonprofit corporation, without violating the First Amendment. 856 F. 2d 783 (1988). Although we agree that expressive rights are implicated in this case, we hold that application of § 54(1) to the Chamber is constitutional because the provision is narrowly tailored to serve a compelling state interest. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals.