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Corporate Political Activity: Opportunities & Potential Pitfalls This Election Season

September 23, 2010

Complimentary Webinar

The Citizens United Supreme Court decision has made it possible for unlimited corporate treasury funds to fuel the political coffers of federal candidates, and have an impact on national issues identified by business corporations and nonprofit organizations. At the same time, stringent regulatory rules affecting campaign contributions remain in force, with Congress considering even tighter rules. McGuireWoods LLP and McGuireWoods Consulting LLC discuss in-depth this year's election season through the eyes of public corporations, nonprofit organizations, and lawmakers.

Moderating the panel is Simon Davidson, author of the Roll Call column, A Question of Ethics.

Thomas Walls – An overview of the significant election law provisions and how they’re affected by the Citizens United decision.

  • Practical aspects of what has changed, including potential consequences at the state and local level.
  • What has NOT changed, campaign finance compliance issues, and rules relating to coordination of political expenditures.
  • Potential congressional responses.
  • Potential governance and nonprofit issues.

Milton Cerny – The regulatory structure impacting nonprofit organizations this election season.

  • IRC treatment of political activity by nonprofit organizations.
  • Tax consequences of the distribution and deductibility of using funds for political purposes.
  • Historical perspective.
  • Permissible activities and prohibitions.
  • Potential future developments.

David Pankey & LaTisha Owens – The implications of election activity for public corporations.

  • Potential impact of Citizens United.
  • Implications of communications with corporate constituencies such as shareholders, vendors, customers and employees.
  • Potential impact of institutional shareholders and their representative organizations.
  • Possible use of shareholder proposals and the impact of the new proxy access rules.
  • Internal controls and the potential use of an independent board committee.
  • Existing SEC disclosure framework.
  • Legislative proposals.