Archive for June 23rd, 2014

The Pronk Pops Show 284, June 23, 2014, Story 1: IRS Scandal Update — IRS Archive Vault Hard Drives Exist and Have All The Emails Requested By Congress — Videos

Posted on June 23, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Constitutional Law, Crime, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hardware, History, IRS, Law, Obama, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Regulation, Resources, Scandals, Security, Social Science, Tax Policy, Taxes, Terror, Videos, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 284: June 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 283: June 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 282: June 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 281: June 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 280: June 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 279: June 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 278: June 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 277: June 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 276: June 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 275: June 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 274: June 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 273: June 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 272: June 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 271: June 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 270: May 30, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 269: May 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 268: May 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 267: May 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 266: May 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 265: May 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 264: May 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 263: May 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 262: May 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 261: May 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 260: May 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 259: May 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 258: May 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 257: May 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 256: May 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 255: May 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 254: May 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 253: April 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 252: April 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 251: April 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 250: April 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 249: April 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 248: April 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 247: April 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 246: April 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 245: April 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 244: April 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 243: April 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 242: April 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 241: April 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 240: April 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 239: April 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 238: April 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 237: April 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 236: April 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 235: March 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 234: March 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 233: March 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 232: March 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 231: March 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 230: March 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 229: March 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 228: March 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 227: March 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 226: March 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 225: March 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 224: March 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 223: March 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 222: March 3, 2014

Story 1: IRS Scandal Update — IRS Archive Vault Hard Drives Exist and Have All The Emails Requested By Congress — Videos



gay_coupleobama-lois-lerner-fifth-amendment1-540x368Lois Lerner takes the 5th














EV 10 Process Diagram -Exchange Server Archiving (July 2012)






IRS Scandal – IRS Chief Koskinen To Testify Before House Oversight CMTE – Happening Now

IRS commissioner to testify in missing email scandal

Jay Sekulow Spoke with Fox News: IRS Scandal & Missing Emails

Mica on IRS Obstruction-Lois Lerner’s Missing E-mails

FOX News — IRS Scandal

IRS Scandal – Lost IRS Email – Special Report All Star

IRS Scandal – Shapiro: The Obama Administration Works Like Like A Mafia Organization – Kelly File

IRS Scandal – Tale Of The Missing Emails – IRS Chief Faces Grilling On Capitol Hill – Journal

IT Experts: IRS Lies About Lost Emails

Mark Levin Calls Out GOP Over Incompetent IRS Investigation

Mark Levin Decimates IRS For Targeting Him, Reveals His Complaint Led To Investigation

Epic Mark Levin Show: The IRS Should be Politically Killed

IRS Scandal – Hard (Drive) To Believe – IRS Boss Stands By Vanished Emails Story – Fox & Friends

GOP Lawmakers Grill IRS Commissioner Over Missing Emails In Targeting Scandal – Huckabee – Cavuto

IRS Scandal IRS: Lerner’s Hard Drive Recycled After Glitch That Wiped Out Emails

IRS Scandal – Critics Accuse IRS Of A “Cover-Up” Amid Report Lerner Emails Are Lost – Forbes On Fox

IRS Scandal – House Lawmakers Demand Answers On Thousands Of Missing Emails From IRS Chief -The Five

‘Nobody Believes You’: Ryan Blasts IRS Head Over Lost Emails

‘Let Me Finish!’ GOP Rep. Dave Camp and IRS Commissioner’s Testy Exchange

IRS Commissioner Won’t Apologize For Lost Lerner E-mails

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen grilled by Rep. Kevin Brady

GASPS As IRS Commissioner Admits Missing Lois Lerner Hard Drive Was Melted Down

Paul Ryan blasts IRS commissioner: ‘I don’t believe you’

IRS Scandal – IRS Official Whose Emails ‘Vanished’ Was Frequent White House Visitor – Kelly File

Judge Jeanine Pirro How High Will IRS Scandal Go? New Testimony Links Targeting To DC!

Judge Jeanine Pirro – Trey Gowdy – IRS Targeting Investigation Lois Lerner Emails Expose I

Is The IRS Scandal The Most Dangerous In U.S. History? – Herman Cain – Stuart Varney

FBI Officials There Is No Evidence To Warrant Charges In IRS Scandal Stuart Varney

IRS Scandal Debated by Fox News Sunday Panel with Chris Wallace

$1 Million Reward on IRS Scandal Whistleblower Offered

Ted Cruz Warns That Dems Are Moving To ‘Repeal’ The First Amendment

Sen. Roberts to Harry Reid: First Amendment Can’t be Amended to Stifle Critics

Supreme Court Changes the Campaign Finance Game

What Citizens United Didn’t Say

Obama’s SOTU Citizens United LIE explained

Explaining the Supreme Court on Campaign Finance

Citizens United (Hillary: the Movie) v. Federal Election Commission

Campaign Finance Reform and the Citizens United Supreme Court Decision

What You Probably Haven’t Heard About Citizens United

3 Reasons Not To Sweat The “Citizens United” SCOTUS Ruling

SCOTUS Decision Aided Santorum, Campaign Finance Expert Says

Campaign Finance: Lawyers’ Citizens United v. FEC U.S. Supreme Court Arguments (2009)

IRS Scandal – Sen. Carl Levin Pressured the IRS to Break the Law

Mark Levin: Democrat Senator Should Be Brought Before a Grand Jury for Role in IRS Scandal

IRS Under Fire The Origins Of A Political Scandal – Is The Obama Admin Corrupt? – Wake Up America

Investigate Senate Democrat Carl Levin

Breitbart.Com Contributor Joel Griffith on the IRS Scandal and Smoking Gun Emails

IRS Scandal – The IRS Has Delayed Releasing Documents Six Times Already – The Kelly File

March 26, 2014

Rep. Gowdy Questions IRS Commissioner John Koskinen about IRS Targeting Scandal

[WATCH] IRS Commisioner says it will “take years” to prOduce Lois Lerner emails and documents

IRS Scandal – IT: Jimmy Hoffa Is Hard To Find, Not Lois Lerner’s Emails – The Real Story

Ellison Barber: Lois Lerner’s Lost Emails ‘Doesn’t Make Sense’

Goldberg: Missing Lois Lerner Emails Are ‘Justifiable Red Meat’ for Republican Investigators

Why Archive Email?

What is email archiving and why is it important?

Office 365 and Exchange Online Archiving and Compliance

Symantec Enterprise Archiving Demo

Data Workflows in E-Mail Archiving using Symantec Enterprise Vault and Dell Storage

Introduction to Symantec Managed Enterprise Vault

Symantec Tales from the Vault: Introducing Enterprise Vault 11

Symantec Tales from the Vault: Using Mail Connect to Streamline Archive Access

Understanding email servers and clients

How your email server works

Beck-Napolitano – The Right To Be Left Alone

5 Questions: IRS chief meets Congress over computer crash

The disappearance of IRS employee emails has kicked the rumor mill over agency targeting of tea party groups into high gear.

Republicans accuse the IRS of disposing of evidence that could link the practice to the Obama Administration and ex-IRS official Lois Lerner. Some Democrats, meanwhile, want to ignore the matter, arguing that tech accidents happen and that the emails aren’t relevant anyway.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen will face his toughest round of questioning yet from irate lawmakers on the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday.


President Barack Obama brought in Koskinen to clean up the mess, after firing the acting IRS chief at the time, Steve Miller. Lerner’s admission that the agency had inappropriately used key words like “tea party” to scrutinize applicants for nonprofit status in May 2013, following by a critical inspector general report days later, set off furor.

Here are some to expect:

1. Why just now tell Congress?

Lawmakers want to know why the IRS just told Congress late last week that Lerner’s 2011 hard drive crash resulted in her archived emails being lost.

After all, it’s been more than a year since the IRS controversy came to light and lawmakers started demanding copies of IRS employee emails, with Lerner, who headed tax-exempt unit, being one of Republicans’ key targets from the start.


It is unclear when exactly Koskinen learned of the matter. Koskinen said Monday he first heard of it “late in the spring.” Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) has said that some IRS employees knew as early as February.

Republicans are furious that Koskinen didn’t mention the crash during spring hearings, when they peppered him with questions about why the agency had not turned over all of Lerner’s emails. Koskinen at a late March hearing, for example, retorted that the process is tricky and could take years because of taxpayer privacy laws. He said the agency would comply to turn over all Lerner’s emails but never mentioned that a chunk of them was lost.

Some Republicans are already accusing the IRS of deceit.

“Why did they deceitfully mislead this Congress in promising to provide all of Lerner’s email when they … had already been told about this supposed computer loss?” asked Ways and Means Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) .


But the IRS says it did not realize what happened to Lerner’s emails until it expanded its probe of her files from “relevant” correspondence to all correspondence, as demanded by Republicans.

Koskinen also told reporters on the Hill on Monday he chose now because the Senate Finance Committee was getting close to finalizing its IRS investigation: “We did not expect that. We were expecting that we would complete the Lois Lerner email production by the end of this month, complete with a full discussion of what we’ve been able to find and what we have not.”

2. When was her hard drive recycled, and did they try to get it back?

Some lawmakers and observers had hoped the crashed hard drives could be recovered by top tech experts. But POLITICO reported Wednesday night that the hard drive has been recycled — making retrieval likely impossible, sources say.

The questioning will now likely focus on what steps the IRS took, both when the computers crashed back in 2011, and what the IRS did this year after it discovered the emails were gone.

“There are many pressing questions that must be answered regarding how this development came about and what led to the destruction of the hard drive in the first place,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah.) said in a statement.

The IRS has said the best people in the criminal division — tech experts who can rebuild and search hidden criminal records on computers — weren’t able to recover Lerner’s documents. The IRS also released emails showing Lerner asking for computer help to recover the documents.

Some Republicans, like Oversight Rep. Trey Gowdy (S.C.), want to know if the metadata exist to get the senders, receivers and dates of emails, if not the content.

GOP panel staff members wonder if the IRS went back to the sixth-month files it kept at the time on all employee email to restore Lerner’s Outlook after it crashed. The IRS backed up emails for six months on a disk. That means, theoretically, the IRS should have had a tape at the time of the crash of emails Lerner had received during the first half of 2011, they say.

Oversight Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Utah) thinks there might be another way to recover the info: “Bring the nerds in! … I want a group of nerds who can tell you how this works, because in this day and age, emails don’t just disappear off the face of the planet. … You can’t just erase the Internet.”

3. Did the IRS break any laws?

Republicans say the IRS may have broke record keeping laws by not backing up employees’ emails.

The Federal Records Act requires that official documents be backed up in a method chosen by each agency and that National Archives be notified if documents are destroyed. But transparency advocates say the law isn’t clear on what exactly constitutes official documents.

Before May of 2013, when the scandal broke, the IRS only backed up emails on tapes for six months and then recycled the tapes, essentially throwing out the data. It relied on employees to print out copies of official correspondence and file them.

The Archives, which oversees the law, is now looking into the IRS’s loss of emails and “was concerned to learn that the IRS has lost email due to a hard-drive failure,” according to a spokesperson.

The IRS maintains it hasn’t broken any rules and that it would cost millions — money the cash-strapped agency says it doesn’t have — to back up all employee emails forever. They also say the recycling of failed hard drives is standard procedure.

4. Could someone have taken advantage of the system?

The GOP suspects more than just bad record keeping at the IRS — but also a cover-up. The IRS emphatically denies such accusations.

Republicans want to know if Lerner, former chief of staff to the commissioner Nikole Flax or others with lost emails could have destroyed them knowing they couldn’t be backed up.

They’ll point out that Lerner’s computer crashed just a few days after after Camp sent a letter to then-IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman inquiring about why the IRS was auditing political nonprofits.

Democrats will point out the White House this week said it did a search and found no emails between Lerner and White House staff from 2009 through 2011.

Koskinen will likely respond by citing emails showing that Lerner was worried about getting her hard drive back, saying she will “keep my fingers crossed” for recovery.

“There were some documents in the files that are irreplaceable. Whatever you can do to help, is greatly appreciated,” she wrote to someone looking at her computer in July 2010.

Koskinen said there’s “no indication” that anyone at the IRS was trying to hide emails.

5. What about the other lost emails?

Lerner’s email has been the focus, but Ways and Means Republicans say that as many as six additional people involved in the scandal also had email erased in hard drive crashes.

While some may take that as a confirmation that crashes happen at the IRS on a regular basis, some Republicans see it as a smokescreen.

“OK, a computer crashes, you ought to be able to get back finding that information. But to have six others? Something’s rotten in this,” said Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La).

Hatch — working with Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on what has been described as a bipartisan IRS probe — is not pleased that they learned of the lost emails only as they were putting the finishing touches on their final report, and that Koskinen earlier this week only mentioned Lerner’s lost email when he met them in person— not the other six.

Expect to hear more details about these other crashes at the hearings. How they crashed, when, and how were the people linked to the scandal?

Lawmakers may also ask the IRS how often computer crashes happen at the IRS. At least two IRS officials, one former and one current, have told POLITICO they lost information in a hard drive crash, too.

The IRS has seen its budget reduced, including for IT, for the past few years, even as Congress has heaped more responsibility on the agency. The IRS is expected to cite its very old technology, and lack of funds to update it, as part of the reason for the crashes.

Wyden told POLITICO he’s “definitely convinced that that issue needs a full hearing, and we’re going to do it.”

Read more:

Read more:

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Darrell Issa calls White House attorney on IRS email loss

House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa is hauling in a former IRS counsel-turned-White House attorney to testify on the disappeared Lois Lerner emails.

The California Republican on Thursday evening requested Jennifer O’Connor of the White House Counsel’s office to testify on Tuesday morning about her knowledge of the crashed hard drive of ex-IRS tax exempt chief Lerner. The IRS says the crash erased two years’ worth of Lerner’s emails just when the IRS was beginning to pull conservative social welfare groups for additional scrutiny.

O’Connor was hired on at the IRS from May 2013 to November 2013 to serve as counselor to Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. One of her primary duties was to help the IRS respond to congressional inquiries after the tea party-targeting controversy came to light. And IRS chief counsel William Wilkins told the panel during its IRS probe that O’Connor was one of two people supervising the collection of “documents relating to the committee’s requests for material.”

Oversight Republicans had requested Lerner’s emails.

Issa suspects O’Connor, a former partner at D.C.’s WilmerHale, may have known about the missing Lerner emails.

“Given your prominent role in supervising the IRS’s document review and production processes, you likely knew or should have known that the IRS was missing a portion of e-mails sent or received by Ms. Lerner responsive to the Committee’s subpoena,” Issa said in a statement.

O’Connor specializes in responding to congressional investigations and was also detailed to help out the Health and Human Services Department following the botch Obamacare roll out in the early winter of last year. She headed to the White House earlier this year, according to the panel.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who will appear before House Ways and Means Friday morning in the first hearing on the email controversy, will also sit in Issa’s hot seat just a few hours before O’Connor on Monday night.

The hearings come just days after the IRS told lawmakers that all Lerner’s emails between January 2009 and April 2011 were lost in a computer crash in mid-2011. The defunct hard drive was also thrown out as per IRS procedure, sources say. Ways and Means said six additional people involved in the sandal have also had emails lost since the IRS at the time did not back up email.



IRS Has Lost More E-mails . . .

By Eliana Johnson

It’s not just Lois Lerner’s e-mails. The Internal Revenue Service says it can’t produce e-mails from six more employees involved in the targeting of conservative groups, according to two Republicans investigating the scandal.

The IRS recently informed Ways and Means chairman Dave Camp and subcommittee chairman Charles Boustany that computer crashes resulted in additional lost e-mails, including from Nikole Flax, the chief of staff to former IRS commissioner Steven Miller, who was fired in the wake of the targeting scandal.

The revelation about Lerner’s e-mails rekindled the targeting scandal and today’s news has further inflamed Republicans. Camp and Boustany are now demanding a special prosecutor to investigate “every angle” of the events that led to Lois Lerner’s revelation in May 2013 that the agency had used inappropriate criteria to review the applications for tax exemption.

The lawmakers expressed particular outrage that the agency has known since February that it would not be able to produce the e-mails requested by the committee yet did not apprise the committee of that fact, and they charged in a statement that the IRS is attempting to “cover up the fact that it convenient lost key documents in the investigation.”

If Lerner is the central figure in the scandal — Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa said Monday evening he believes she was the senior-most official involved — Flax may be an important auxiliary figure. E-mails produced in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the group Judicial Watchshow Flax giving the green light to Lerner’s request to meet with Department of Justice officials to explore the possibility of criminally prosecuting nonprofit groups — at the suggestion of Democratic senator Sheldon Whitehouse — for engaging in political activity after declaring on their application for nonprofit status that they had no plans to do so.

E-mails uncovered by the committee last week showed that, in preparation for her meeting with the Department of Justice, Lerner and one of her advisers transmitted 1.1 million pages of data on nonprofit groups, including confidential taxpayer information, to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, potentially in violation of federal law

An Introduction to Email Archiving

With email being such a vital part of a business’s day-to-day activity and communication, it’s no surprise that many organizations are looking to back-up sent and received messages. Messages often contain important information, such as negotiation details, agreements and customer commitments, while they are also the basis for binding contracts.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that businesses are crying out for effective email archiving solutions to keep a vital record of these kinds of communications, especially with overall data growth expected to grow from 26 per cent to 50 per cent in the next year. In addition to providing storage solutions for vast quantities of emails, what benefits does email archiving provide your business?

Efficient access

Storing hundreds of thousands of emails is one thing, but finding the right one when it’s needed can also be problematic. Furthermore, what happens when you need to find that vital document but you aren’t able to connect to the office-based server due to an outage, or you wish to retrieve a document that has been archived for an important meeting? This is where a cloud-based service, like the one offered by Mimecast Email Archiving, could prove particularly beneficial.

All emails, both internal and external, are easily stored in a secure archive, offering a huge amount of storage space and the ability to access the mailbox anywhere, as long as there is an internet connection and you have a device that can connect to the web. This allows for greater worker productivity, as staff will no longer have to forage around for important documents or call technical support for email access. They can simply log-in and look through their emails in real-time.

Folders can be used to organise emails into an accessible files, while the search function makes it easy to scan for a key phrase or word that is located in the desired document.

Minimising costs, maximising security

The major problems with large storage systems are the costs involved in maintaining them, the need to guard against security issues, and the stretching of company resources and man-power. An email archive in the cloud helps to meet these challenges and solve them in one accessible, simple and unified platform.

Security is perhaps the most pressing issue, due to the risks associated with email viruses and spam. However, a system like Mimecast is extremely resilient, and a number of copies are created of inbound, outbound and internal messages, which are then immediately encrypted and geographically dispersed to ensure no important information is lost forever.

With technology evolving all the time, having to complete data migration and software upgrades can be complicated. However, using an email archiving system in the cloud eliminates these issues without any interruption to existing services. There is almost no limit on the amount of data that can be stored, meaning that regardless of how your business needs grow, there will always be enough capacity to meet them.

Complete integration

Email archiving, as offered by Mimecast, allows you to integrate the solution to Microsoft Outlook, enabling the user to access their personal archive with a familiar email interface. This makes it easy to recover deleted messages that are then restored to Outlook using the ‘drag and drop’ system, providing simple management of your mailbox. The service is already available on Android, Windows Phone, iPhone and Blackberry, ensuring that all major smartphones can take advantage of a cloud-based email platform.

And that concludes our introduction to email archiving. Make sure your business has a solution imminently to help increase your company’s productivity.


Email archiving

Email Archiving is the act of preserving and making searchable all email to/from an individual. Email archiving solutions capture email content either directly from the email application itself or during transport. The messages are typically then stored on magnetic disk storage and indexed to simplify future searches. In addition to simply accumulating email messages, these applications index and provide quick, searchable access to archived messages independent of the users of the system using a couple of different technical methods of implementation. The reasons a company may opt to implement an email archiving solution include protection of mission critical data, to meet retention and supervision requirements of applicable regulations, and for e-discovery purposes. It is predicted that the email archiving market will grow from nearly $2.1 billion in 2009 to over $5.1 billion in 2013.[1]


Email archiving is an automated process for preserving and protecting all inbound and outbound email messages (as well as attachments and metadata) so they can be accessed at a later date should the need arise. The benefits of email archiving include the recovery of lost or accidentally deleted emails, accelerated audit response, preservation of the intellectual property contained in business email and its attachments and “eDiscovery” in the case of litigation or internal investigations (what happened when, who said what).


Email Archiving is the process of capturing, preserving, and making easily searchable all email traffic to and from a given individual, organization, or service. Email archiving solutions capture email content either directly from the email server itself (journaling) or during message transit. The email archive can then be stored on magnetic tape, disk arrays, or now more often than not, in the cloud. Regardless of the location of the email archive, it gets indexed in order to speed future searches, and most archive vendors provide a search UI to simplify query construction.

In addition to email, attachments and associated metadata, some email archiving applications can also archive additional aspects of a mailbox including public folders, .pst files, calendars, contacts, notes, instant messages and context.

Objectives of Email Archiving

There are many motivations for enterprises or end-users to invest in an Email Archiving solution, including:

  • Data Preservation
  • Protection of Intellectual Property
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Litigation and Legal Discovery
  • Email Backup and Disaster Recovery
  • Messaging System & Storage Optimization
  • Monitoring of Internal & External Email Content
  • Records Management (Email Retention Policies)
  • Business & Email Continuity

Regulatory Compliance

As enterprises of all sizes grow more reliant on email, the business value of that content is also growing. To protect this increasingly valuable information (intellectual property), numerous standards and regulations have been enacted to require records protection and retention as well as timely response to legal (discovery) and information (FOIA) requests.[2] Modern email archiving solutions allow companies to meet regulatory requirements or corporate policies by securing and preserving data and providing flexible data management policies to enable authorized users to enact ‘legal holds’, set retention and purge policies, or conduct searches across multiple mailboxes to complete various inquiries.

Some of the primary compliance requirements driving the need for secure email archiving are (alphabetically):




United Kingdom

United States

Note, that many of the compliance regulations require the preservation of “electronic business communications” which consist of not only email, but may include instant messaging, file attachments, Bloomberg Messaging, Reuters Messaging, PIN-to-PIN and SMS text messages, VoIP and other electronic messaging communications used in business.

Litigation and Legal Discovery

For legal discovery, email archiving solutions will lower the overall risk of spoliation and greatly speed up electronic discovery. This is because messages are indexed, audit trails are provided, messages are deduplicated, and legal hold/preservation can be applied.[5]For litigation support, email can be retrieved quickly and a history of the email exists to prove its authenticity for chain of custody. For compliance support, email records are stored in the archive according to administrator defined retention policies. When retention periods expire, email is automatically deleted by the archiving application. In order to be compliant, an organization can intentionally destroy email messages, so long as (1) the destruction is done pursuant to a stated company policy and (2) the destruction stops immediately if an incident occurs which could give rise to a lawsuit. [6]

If an organization has multiple separate applications, for example for e-discovery, records information management, and email archiving, each application may have a separate database and it becomes difficult to de-duplicate messages and ensure that a single retention policy is being applied. From a legal point of view, this is important because once retention periods have expired the message should be purged from the archive.[7] Messages that are not purged are still discoverable, should litigation arise at a later date. As such, without a unified archive it is difficult to ensure one single retention policy. This problem is magnified for large organizations that manage tens of millions of emails per day.

Without email archiving, email likely exists on some combination of backup tapes and on end users’ local workstations. If a specific email needs to be found for an internal investigation or in response to litigation, it can take weeks to find and costs a great deal. With today’s legal discovery rules (see FRCP: and compliance legislations, it has become necessary for IT departments to centrally manage and archive their organization’s email, so email can be searched and found in minutes; not days or weeks.

Email Backup and Disaster Recovery

Email is the lifeblood of many modern businesses, and enterprises today depend more on reliable email service. Virtually all enterprises implement a messaging infrastructure to connect workers and enable business processes. In the e-commerce arena, employees may require access to email to close sales and manage accounts. These employees, plus many others, may choose to keep their emails indefinitely, but some organizations may mandate that emails more than 90 days old be deleted. Setting these kinds of retention policies deserves careful consideration as a single email could help a company win a lawsuit or avoid litigation altogether. Email archiving can also be used for business continuity at the individual employee level. When one employee quits, his/her replacement can be given access to the departed employee’s archived messages in order to preserve correspondence records, and enable accelerated on-boarding.

As part of a comprehensive disaster recovery plan, an email archive can be instrumental in an organization’s effort to “get back to business”. An offsite, online archive means that secondary facilities can spin up messaging servers and quickly get access to the last mails sent/received as well as all historical messaging data. Offsite archives can take the form of disk farms (SANs) in distant DR facilities or email archives stored in public/private cloud environments. It should be noted that while email archiving products do capture and copy all messages, they are not mirrored copies of the messaging server itself, and therefore cannot help recreate user accounts/groups in the event of a disaster.

Messaging system & storage optimization

Every email message takes up space on an email system’s hard drive or some other permanent storage device (e.g. Network Attached StorageStorage Area Network, etc.). As the number of these messages increase, simple operations such as retrieving, searching, indexing, backup, etc. take utilize more information system resources. At some point older data must be removed from the production email system so that they can maintain a level of performance for their primary use, exchange of email messages. Email archiving solutions improve email server performance and storage efficiency by removing email and attachments from the messaging server based on administrator defined policies. Archived email and attachments remain accessible to end users via the existing email client applications.


  1. Jump up^ The Radicati Group, Inc. Releases “E-Mail Archiving Market, 2009-2013” Study
  2. Jump up^ E-Mail Archiving Growth Fueled by Federal Rule Changes
  3. Jump up^ MFDA Rules
  4. Jump up^ Principles of data access and of digital documents (GDPdU)
  5. Jump up^ The Sedona Canada Principles: Addressing Electronic Discovery, 2008
  6. Jump up^ Kest, Kristopher; Drew Sorrell; Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A. (April 12, 2013). “Are You Allowed to Intentionally Destroy Emails? Re: Privacy in the Workplace”The National Law Review. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  7. Jump up^

External links

See also


IRS scandal could entangle Sen. Carl Levin

Internal Revenue Manual (IRM)

Internal Revenue Manual
Table of Contents

Part 1     Organization, Finance, and Management
Part 2     Information Technology
Part 3     Submission Processing
Part 4     Examining Process
Part 5     Collecting Process
Part 6     Human Resources Management
Part 7     Rulings and Agreements
Part 8     Appeals
Part 9     Criminal Investigation
Part 10     Security, Privacy and Assurance
Part 11     Communications and Liaison
Part 13     Taxpayer Advocate Service
Part 20     Penalty and Interest
Part 21     Customer Account Services
Part 22     Taxpayer Education and Assistance
Part 25     Special Topics
Part 30     Administrative
Part 31     Guiding Principles
Part 32     Published Guidance and Other Guidance to Taxpayers
Part 33     Legal Advice
Part 34     Litigation in District Court, Bankruptcy Court, Court of Federal Claims, and State Court
Part 35     Tax Court Litigation
Part 36     Appellate Litigation and Actions on Decision
Part 37     Disclosure
Part 38     Criminal Tax
Part 39     General Legal Services
Download IRM Source Files (XML) – Directory List of File Names

1.10.3  Standards for Using Email

Manual Transmittal

August 30, 2012


(1) This transmits revised IRM 1.10.3, Office of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, Standards for Using Email.


This IRM provides guidelines for using email in the most effective and productive manner. It includes guidance on formatting messages in a way that will be easily accessible for all employees, including those using the Enterprise Remote Access System (ERAP). It also includes information on security guidelines, creation and use of distribution lists, and contacts for assistance with email issues.

Material Changes

(1) Text has been revised to clarify and update information including web site references.

Effect on Other Documents

IRM 1.10.3 dated July 8, 2011, is superseded.


All IRS employees

Effective Date

(08-30-2012)Terry Lemons
Office of Communications  (06-01-2007)

  1. Email is now commonly used in business as an official form of communication, often replacing memorandums, meetings or phone conversations. This technology option is often the most efficient way to handle business communications and responsibilities. But its benefits can lead to burdens if we do not use this powerful tool judiciously. This section defines the standards for email use in Internal Revenue Service communications.  (08-30-2012)

  1. Email messages are official documents and should reflect this perspective. Email communications can be offered as evidence in court and can be legally binding. Before sending an email, you must consider how it reflects on the Service’s image and take into account privacy, records management, and security factors.
  2. The privacy of email cannot be assured and is easily compromised. Messages can be forwarded to unintended recipients (sometimes outside the agency or even outside the government). The public we serve, or the Congress, who may have occasion to see an email message, do not differentiate between employees as individuals and our agency. We are the IRS.
  3. More information on the Service’s email security policy is available at Cybersecurity’s policy, IRM, Electronic Mail (Email) Security and IRM , Privately Owned Email Accounts.  (07-08-2011)
Secure Messaging & Encryption

  1. The Internal Revenue Service processes Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) information. The definition of SBU information is any information that requires protection due to the risk and magnitude of loss or harm to the IRS or the privacy to which individuals are entitled under 5 United States Code (USC) Section 552a (the Privacy Act), which could result from inadvertent or deliberate disclosure, alteration, or destruction. See IRM 10.8.1, Information Technology (It) Security, Policy and Guidance, for guidance on Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) information.
  2. Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is a specific type of sensitive information. PII includes the personal data of taxpayers, and also the personal information of employees, contractors, applicants and visitors to the IRS. Refer to the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) section of IRM 10.8.1 for additional PII guidance
  3. You should never consider email secure. Do not include taxpayer, SBU, or PII information in email messages or attachments unless you use IRS approved encryption technology.
  4. Use the Secure Enterprise Messaging System (SEMS, or ” Secure Messaging” ) for sending Microsoft Outlook messages that contain SBU data. Secure Messaging enables you to digitally encrypt email messages and attachments for transmission among IRS email users including Criminal Investigation,, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), and Chief Counsel employees. In order for you to send a secure message through Outlook, both you and the recipient must have Secure Messaging installed. This allows authorized employees to transmit SBU information to other authorized employees within the system once they have been enrolled and received training.
  5. Secure Messaging enrollment is an automated process for all LAN accounts with an Exchange mailbox in IRS. You can find the instructions for configuring the Outlook client to use the certificates at the Secure Enterprise Messaging Systems (SEMS) web site:
  6. Alternatively, you may encrypt files to be e-mailed as attachments using the latest software provided by MITS. Instructions are provided at
  7. IRS employees may not send SBU data by electronic mail outside the IRS unless an IT approved exception is obtained. See the Electronic Mail and Secure Messaging section of IRM 11.3.1 for details.  (07-08-2011)
Suspicious Emails / “Social Engineering”

  1. Individuals seeking to commit fraud or intending harm to the IRS or its employees often engage in “social engineering,” wherein they use an alias and a seemingly innocuous cover story in order to gain the victim’s confidence and gather sensitive information. Such scammers may use email, and try to trick you into revealing your password, or personal information. If you receive a suspicious, bogus, or phishing email:
    • Do not open any attachments
    • Do not reply
    • “Forward” the email to the electronic mailbox, (
    • Delete the email after forwarding

    For more information, see IRM 21.1.3 – Accounts Management and Compliance Services Operations.  (07-08-2011)
Emails as Possible Federal Records

  1. All federal employees and federal contractors are required by law to preserve records containing adequate and proper documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the agency. Records must be properly stored and preserved, available for retrieval and subject to appropriate approved disposition schedules.
  2. The Federal Records Act applies to email records just as it does to records you create using other media. Emails are records when they are:
    • Created or received in the transaction of agency business
    • Appropriate for preservation as evidence of the government’s function and activities, or
    • Valuable because of the information they contain


  3. If you create or receive email messages during the course of your daily work, you are responsible for ensuring that you manage them properly. The Treasury Department’s current email policy requires emails and attachments that meet the definition of a federal record be added to the organization’s files by printing them (including the essential transmission data) and filing them with related paper records. If transmission and receipt data are not printed by the email system, annotate the paper copy. More information on IRS records management requirements is available at or see the Records Management Handbook, IRM 1.15.1
  4. An email determined to be a federal record may eventually be considered as having historical value by the National Archivist prior to disposal. Therefore, ensure that all your communications are professional in tone.
  5. Please note that maintaining a copy of an email or its attachments within the IRS email MS Outlook application does not meet the requirements of maintaining an official record. Therefore, print and file email and its attachments if they are either permanent records or if they relate to a specific case.  (08-30-2012)
Emails are Subject to FOIA

  1. The public is aware of the role emails play in agency internal operations and emails are included in a growing number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Emails that are responsive to a FOIA request must be released unless the information contained in the email falls into one of nine very specific categories of exemptions. (See IRM 11.3.13 for more on FOIA processing). There is no category of exemption to protect the author or the Service from embarrassment.
  2. Emails provided in response to a FOIA must include the addressee, date and time. The address list, date and time are considered part of the record for both FOIA and record management purposes.
  3. Do not delete a message or attachment that is the subject of a congressional, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), or discovery request or that is needed for litigation.  (08-30-2012)
Emails may be subject to electronic discovery

  1. Certain electronic records (like emails) may need to be identified and preserved when litigation is anticipated. In this case, you will be notified by your manager or Chief Counsel that relevant information must be preserved as part of the legal process. See Office of Chief Counsel Notice CC-2010-008, Complying with E-Discovery (,%20Complying%20with%20E-Discovery%20Rules%20&%20Identifying%20&%20Preserving%20ESI;%20dated%20May%204,%202010.pdf), for information on E-Discovery.  (08-30-2012)
Inappropriate Emails

  1. IRM 10.8.27, Information Technology (IT) Security, Internal Revenue Service Policy On Limited Personal Use Of Government Information Technology Resources, defines the minimum standard for acceptable personal use of Government IT resources by IRS employees. The first exhibit, includes a summary of prohibited activities that includes creating, copying, transmitting, or retransmitting chain letters or other unauthorized mass mailings regardless of their subject matter.
  2. IRM, , Information Technology (IT) Security, Policy and Guidance states “Email spamming, sending or forwarding chain letters, other junk email, or inappropriate messages shall be prohibited. ” In addition, IRM (7) states “Any use of IRS IT resources, including email, shall be made with the understanding that such use may not be secure, is not private, is not anonymous and may be subject to disclosure under FOIA.”
  3. If you receive an inappropriate email, please notify your immediate supervisor or your local Data Security Area. Do not forward it to your co-workers, friends or family, etc. You should delete the inappropriate email after notifying the proper authorities.  (07-08-2011)
Message Format

  1. Most IRS employees have access to email, but not everyone has the same email environment. Many employees work offsite and their email messages must go through the Enterprise Remote Access System (ERAP). A result is that these users often experience slower access and transmission. Email messages that IRS office workers download in fractions of seconds can often take longer for a field user. Additionally, graphics and stationery can’t be read by adaptive equipment and can freeze the user’s system.
  2. Unnecessary messages or excess volume of data within a message require time for the recipient to review and digest. Keep the reader’s situation and need in mind at all times.  (07-08-2011)
Don’t Slow Down the System

  1. To avoid slowing down transmission of information:
    • Use Arial or another simple font on a plain background.
    • Do not use animation, fancy background, “wallpapers,” borders, graphics and photographs as part of your “stationery” or message format. Exceptions will only be allowed for special IRS Commissioner initiatives.
    • Refrain from sending large attachments to work groups or audiences. Remember every email message and any attachments, embedded graphics and photographs require a copy for each Exchange server store where each recipient’s mailbox resides. Instead store the document on an IRS public web archive or SharePoint repository and insert a hyperlink into the message. Ensure the permissions allow access by all recipients prior to sending the message.  (06-01-2007)
Categorize Messages

  1. A meaningful subject line helps recipients prioritize their email. Categorize all email by type. Include only related information in a message. If there is another topic you wish to address, send it in a separate message. This makes it easier for the recipient to manage and respond to messages on different topics.
  2. Use the follow-up flag feature to identify items with required follow-up dates.  (06-01-2007)
Designate Priority

  1. Most email will be normal priority. Designate an email as high priority only if the receiver will need to act on the message immediately. If your message is truly urgent, consider trying to reach the recipient by phone or in person.
    • “!” – High. Example – Computers will be down this weekend so overtime will not be scheduled and credit hours will not be approved. Example – We need volunteers for a task force in Washington that will convene in two weeks. Nominations are due this Friday.
    • “blank” – Normal (the default)
    • “down arrow” – Low. Example – The territory office of (another operating division) in another city has moved; its new address is…  (06-01-2007)
Designate Sensitivity

  1. Most email is of normal sensitivity. Messages designated as ” private” or “confidential” should not be forwarded – but the system allows for this. Marking a message with one of these settings is advisory only. Recipients can take any actions on the message that they want to, such as forwarding the message to others.
  2. To designate sensitivity, from the “View” menu, select “Options” then select the appropriate designation.
    • Private – Example: Communications with Labor Relations about an issue involving a particular employee.
    • Confidential – Example: A proposal you are sharing with someone for their input, but which has not been shared with those who will approve or implement the procedures.
    • Normal (default)  (07-08-2011)
Follow Guidelines of Email Common Sense and Etiquette

  1. To improve the effectiveness of email, follow these rules of etiquette and common sense guidelines:
    1. Consider whether email is the best method for your communication. Sometimes, two-way dialogue by phone, Office Communicator or in person may be more effective. At other times, email may be best if you need written documentation.
    2. Choose your recipients carefully. When selecting from the global address list, watch for duplicate names. If you frequently sendmessages to the same individuals, put them in your Personal Address Book. If two or more individuals have the same names, check the employees’ properties in the Global Address List to ensure your intended recipient is the right person in the right location.
    3. Do not use a distribution list (as a convenience to you) unless your message is appropriate for everyone on that list.
    4. Use the subject line to categorize messages. Do not include any confidential or sensitive information in the subject line.
    5. Forward messages only when necessary. Do not forward to people who have already received the message. Example: Do not resend Commissioner All-Employee messages.
    6. Be concise.
    7. Review your messages for accuracy in content, spelling, and punctuation. Hint: Set auto spell check to check all messages before sending and review any changes made .
    8. If you say that a file is attached, attach it. Hint: attach the file before you compose the message.
    9. Insert hypertext links to large documents stored on IRS document repositories.
    10. Maintain your Inbox.
    11. Respond promptly to messages.
    12. Routinely purge your mailbox of old and unnecessary messages (but do not delete email that could be federal records).
    13. Use the “To” address line for the primary recipient.
    14. Use the carbon copy “cc” and blind carbon copy “bcc” features appropriately. Avoid copying people who do not need to see your message. In an internal office environment, it is rarely appropriate to use the “bcc” feature.
    15. Use “Reply to all” only if all the original recipients need to know your response. Otherwise, reply only to the sender.
    16. Never use “Reply to all” when you receive an email as a member of a large geographic or servicewide distribution list.
    17. Use conversational grammar.
    18. Do not use all caps or all lower case. Use punctuation.
    19. Use the “out of office assistant” or ” auto forward” features when you will be out of the office for an extended time.
    20. If you receive any messages with a known or suspected virus, delete them immediately and report the matter appropriately .
    21. Avoid background, stationery or graphics.
    22. To accommodate those with visual impairments, select font and background colors that provide sufficient contrast and avoid unusual color combinations. For example, use the default font color (usually black or blue) rather than selecting red or green, use the default background color rather than selecting a background color and do not use the text highlighting feature.
    23. Help prevent unnecessary email by telling recipients when your message does not require a reply.
    24. Manage your email more effectively by using Outlook features such as voting buttons and invitation options. It will be easier for recipients to respond and easier to manage and track the results.  (08-30-2012)
Limit Size of Attachments

  1. Large attachments can degrade overall system efficiency, so you should limit the transmission of large files as email attachments whenever possible.
  2. Consider alternatives for attachments larger than 10MB:
    If … Then …
    “Attachment” has widespread impact and a shelf life
    • Have it posted to your organization’s intranet site for retrieval, and
    • Include the hyperlink in the email message.
    • -or-
    • Save it to your shared directory, and
    • Include file and path name in the email message.
    “Attachment” does not have widespread impact and/or a shelf life
    • Zip large files for faster transmission.
    • Eliminate official IRS seal from memos.
    • If possible, remove graphics, borders, pictures and non-standard fonts.
    “Attachment” is a large graphic presentation (i.e., PowerPoint, screen shots, scanned documents)
    • Send it only to people who need to use or see the actual file.
    • Convert the information to a text file for those who only need the information.
    • Zip the file.
    • Have it posted to your organization’s intranet site and email the hyperlink.


  3. If you are responding with an attachment, use “Forward ” instead of “Reply” because attachments do not stay with replies.
  4. If you want to save the email message but do not need the attachment, follow these instructions:
    • Open the message,
    • Right click the attachment icon, and
    • Select remove from the menu.
    • Close file. Select “yes” at the “Do you want to Save changes?” prompt.

    This will also save disk space.  (06-01-2007)
Malicious Attachments

  1. Ensure attachments are safe from viruses. Open attachments only if you trust the source and are expecting the attached file. Because of the impact the spreading of worms and viruses have on the IRS network, the Enterprise Messaging System is now configured to block all files with particular extension. If a file is sent via email with certain extensions (such as .exe, .vbs and .lnk), the message will be deleted without delivery.
  2. A number of virus variants try to bypass the IRS virus scanning software by including their damaging payload within a .zip file. Be cautious with any message you receive containing an attachment with a .zip file extension, and only unzip the file only if you trust the source.
  3. When you receive an email message with an attachment, save both the email and the attachment to a hard drive or network drive as soon as possible and remove the message and attachment from your mailbox. You free up space on your server by doing so.  (07-08-2011)
Using and Creating Distribution Lists

  1. Distribution groups/lists are a convenience when messages need to be sent to a large defined group. They allow users to send email messages to each individual on the list without selecting individual names. However, you should use them judiciously.  (07-08-2011)
Personal Distribution Lists

  1. Personal distribution lists are created by an individual user. Use your Outlook Help feature, keyword: personal distribution list, for instructions on creating and sharing personal lists.  (06-01-2007)
Global Distribution Lists

  1. IT and the SEMS staff can create global distribution lists for groups of practically any size and for any situation. These distribution lists are available for use from the global address list on Outlook. The list owner determines who will be authorized to use the list.
  2. There are several different types of global distribution lists.
    Location specific Considered local in scope, these lists contain members from a local site. For example, functional coordinators within a service center campus.
    Special needs Cross multiple organization boundaries and are often created for temporary groups, such as task forces.
    Large lists Contain more than 100 members and require specific set up and delivery restrictions. The AWSS all employee list (&AWSS Employees) is an example.


The use of large global lists should be confined to those who have a business need to communicate with the list. Examples include messages sent by IT to alert users of systems related issues or distribution of other approved servicewide communications tools such as IRS headlines or Leaders’ Alert.

 Lists created from a databaseMembership for these lists is determined by specifying certain criteria within a database (such as TAPS or TIMIS) and populating the list with names meeting the criteria. Changes to membership cannot be made directly to the list, but must be made to information contained in the database. The SB/SE all-employee list (&SBSE All) is an example.  (04-01-2003)
Using Global Lists

  1. Before using a global distribution list to send an email message that requires follow-up actions or commitment of resources by recipients outside of your division, always discuss the requirement with the applicable Division Commissioner’s office.  (07-08-2011)
Requesting a Global Distribution List

  1. Contact OSGetServices (1-866-743-5748) or TDD/TTY: 1-866-435-7486 to request creation of a new global distribution list (DL). You will need to provide the following information :
    • Business need justification
    • Scope – to whom it applies
    • Anticipated “shelf life” of DL
    • Name and number of the individual charged with maintaining the DL
    • Proposed list of initial DL members
    • If the list is automated, the conditional criteria of the members



    Distribution group/list names must be pre-approved by the designated business unit point of contact prior to opening the ITAMS ticket.  (07-08-2011)
Managing a List

  1. Distribution group/list managers can find information on modifying a list in the SEMS Documentation Library online at  (04-01-2003)
Messages Intended for All Employees

  1. The IRS has the capability to send email messages to all employees; however this method of communication should be used sparingly. If you have a message you believe should be communicated servicewide, contact your business unit’s communication office.  (06-01-2007)
IRS Headlines…and more

  1. Generally, information requiring communication to all employees is distributed via the IRS Headlines … and more electronic newsletter. The C&L Internal Communications (IC) branch distributes IRS Headlines…and more every Monday using the all employee global distribution list. Articles for IRS Headlines …and more should contain time-sensitive information (something happening last week, this week or next week) relevant to a cross-section of IRS managers and employees.
  2. If you think you have information appropriate for IRS Headlines… and more, you should take the following steps:
    1. Originator discusses topic and schedule with the business unit’s communication office. (If none, contact IC directly
    2. Business unit communicator discusses topic and schedule with theIRS Headlines editor.
    3. IC determines whether the topic is appropriate for IRS Headlines …and more.
    4. Originator and business unit communicator draft message and submit it to Internal Communications the Headlines editor (
    5. IC will provide editorial feedback on content, length, tone, and key messages.
    6. IC will schedule article for publication in the IRS Headlines…and more electronic newsletter.
    7. IC will suggest ways to incorporate message into other internal communications products, when appropriate.  (06-01-2007)
Special All-Employee Emails

  1. On rare occasions, special circumstances may require the issuance of an all-employee email separate from IRS Headlines … and more. Any message submitted for distribution as an all-employee email will be subject to a stringent review process. The communications manager in your business unit is your initial point of contact when deciding whether to start the process of creating an all-employee email.
  2. When submitting a message for distribution to all employees, you must provide the following information:
    • Significance to employees (Is there something they must know immediately to do their jobs correctly, to comply with the law, to prevent a systems failure, etc.?)
    • Reason for extreme time sensitivity (Why is this information so critical to employees that it cannot wait for inclusion in the next edition of Headlines?)
    • Necessity of email delivery instead of Headlines or other method (Why does this information have to be sent via a special email? Why wouldn’t IRweb (intranet) or Headlines be more appropriate ?)
    • Desired outcome (What immediate action do you want employees to take?)
    • Business objective


  3. The C&L Internal Communication Branch will determine the best method of communicating the message based on the information submitted.  (07-08-2011)
Assistance with Email Issues

  1. Use the following table to determine where to get assistance with email issues.
    Topic Resource
    Security Concerns Immediately contact the Computer Security Incident Response Center (CSIRC) at
    (866) 216-4809 (toll-free)
    (202) 283-4809 (local)
    (202) 283-0345 (FAX)
    Technical problems w/Outlook Submit OS GetServices ticket online at by phone: 1-866-743-5748 or TDD/TTY: 1-866-435-7486.
    Creating or changing criteria for an Automated Distribution Group/List (Requires an ITAMS ticket) Contact OS GetServices online at by phone: at 1-866-743-5748 or TDD/TTY: 1-866-435-7486.
    SPAM issues DO NOT open email; forward questionable email to *SPAM with “Possible SPAM” in subject line.
    For additional information, take the Anti-SPAM Procedures link contained in the IT Navigation Guide.


Exhibit 1.10.3-1
Reducing the Size of Your Mailbox

The Secure Enterprise Messaging system (SEMS) establishes a standard size of 500 MB (500 megabytes) for individual mailboxes. The system mails you daily warning messages that the limit is being approached when your mailbox reaches a size of 475 MB. When it exceeds the 500 MB limit, you will receive the following warning each time you attempt to send a message:

  • “You have exceeded your storage limit on your mailbox ” .
  • Delete some mail from your mailbox or contact your system administrator to adjust your storage limit. (Consider whether any of the items you want to delete may be a federal record. IRM above.)

It is not the practice of the SEMS staff to adjust any individual mailbox storage limits, but rather to provide guidance on reducing the size of the contents. The Outlook Help menu provides instructions for enabling and configuring both Auto-archiving and Rules to manage mail and mailbox folders to maintain proper storage limits.

Exhibit 1.10.3-2

Your email signature section should include only the identifying information that would otherwise be included in any official IRS communication (i.e. business card, memorandum, letter, etc.):

  • Name
  • Title
  • Organization
  • Street/email address
  • Telephone/fax numbers

Refrain from including quotes or other personal messages as part of the signature section.

Follow these steps to create an automatic signature in Outlook:

  • Select “Options” from the “Tools” menu. Choose the “mail format” tab. Use the ” Signatures” section at the bottom to create your personal signature line.


Part 2. Information Technology

Table of Contents

President Wrong on Citizens United Case

By Bradley A. Smith

Tonight the president engaged in demogoguery of the worst kind, when he claimed that last week’s Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC, “open[ed] the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.”

The president’s statement is false.

The Court held that 2 U.S.C. Section 441a, which prohibits all corporate political spending, is unconstitutional. Foreign nationals, specifically defined to include foreign corporations, are prohibiting from making “a contribution or donation of money or ather thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State or local election” under 2 U.S.C. Section 441e, which was not at issue in the case. Foreign corporations are also prohibited, under 2 U.S.C. 441e, from making any contribution or donation to any committee of any political party, and they prohibited from making any “expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication.”

This is either blithering ignorance of the law or demagoguery of the worst kind.


 – Bradley A. Smith is Josiah H. Blackmore II/Shirley M. Nault Designated Professor of Law at Capital University Law School

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. ___ (2010), (Docket No. 08-205), is a US constitutional law case. The United States Supreme Court held that the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting political independent expenditures by corporationsassociations, or labor unions. This followed a line of decisions starting with Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976) interpreting freedom of speech to include spending money. The case has remained intensely controversial for increasing the influence in elections that money can have, in contrast to most other developed countries where limits are imposed on all election spending.

In the case, the conservative lobbying group Citizens United wanted to air a film critical of Hillary Clinton and to advertise the film during television broadcasts in apparent violation of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (commonly known as the McCain–Feingold Act or “BCRA”).[2] Section 203 of BCRA defined an “electioneering communication” as a broadcast, cable, or satellite communication that mentioned a candidate within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary, and prohibited such expenditures by corporations and unions. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia held that §203 of BCRA applied and prohibited Citizens United from advertising the film Hillary: The Movie in broadcasts or paying to have it shown on television within 30 days of the 2008 Democratic primaries.[1][3] The Supreme Court reversed this decision, striking down those provisions of BCRA that prohibited corporations (including nonprofit corporations) and unions from making independent expenditures and “electioneering communications”.[2] The majority decision overruled Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce (1990) and partially overruled McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003).[4] The Court, however, upheld requirements for public disclosure by sponsors of advertisements (BCRA §201 and §311). The case did not involve the federal ban on direct contributions from corporations or unions to candidate campaigns or political parties, which remain illegal in races for federal office.[5]




The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (known as BCRA or McCain–Feingold Act)—specifically §203, which modified the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, 2 U.S.C. § 441b—prohibited corporations and unions from using their general treasury to fund “electioneering communications” (broadcast advertisements mentioning a candidate) within 30 days before a primary or 60 days before a general election. During the 2004 presidential campaign, a conservative nonprofit 501(c)(4) organization named Citizens United filed a complaint before the Federal Election Commission (FEC) charging that advertisements for Michael Moore’sfilm Fahrenheit 9/11, a documentary critical of the Bush administration’s response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, constituted political advertising and thus could not be aired within the 30 days before a primary election or 60 days before a general election. The FEC dismissed the complaint after finding no evidence that broadcast advertisements for the movie and featuring a candidate within the proscribed time limits had actually been made.[6] The FEC later dismissed a second complaint which argued that the movie itself constituted illegal corporate spending advocating the election or defeat of a candidate, which was illegal under the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 and the Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1974. In dismissing that complaint, the FEC found that:

The complainant alleged that the release and distribution of FAHRENHEIT 9/11 constituted an independent expenditure because the film expressly advocated the defeat of President Bush and that by being fully or partially responsible for the film’s release, Michael Moore and other entities associated with the film made excessive and/or prohibited contributions to unidentified candidates. The Commission found no reason to believe the respondents violated the Act because the film, associated trailers and website represented bona fide commercial activity, not “contributions” or “expenditures” as defined by the Federal Election Campaign Act.[7]

In the wake of these decisions, Citizens United sought to establish itself as a bona fide commercial film maker, producing several documentary films between 2005 and 2007. By early 2008, it sought to run television commercials to promote its latest political documentary Hillary: The Movie and to air the movie on DirecTV.[8] The movie was highly critical of then-Senator Hillary Clinton, with the District Court describing the movie as an elongated version of a negative 30-second television spot. In January 2008, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the television advertisements for Hillary: The Movie violated the BCRA restrictions of “electioneering communications” within 30 days of a primary. Though the political action committee claimed that the film was fact-based and nonpartisan, the lower court found that the film had no purpose other than to discredit Clinton’s candidacy for president.[9] The Supreme Court docketed the case on August 18, 2008,[10] and heard oral argument on March 24, 2009.[8][11][12]

Before the Supreme Court

During the original oral argument, Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm L. Stewart (representing the FEC) argued that under Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the government would have the power to ban books if those books contained even one sentence expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate and were published or distributed by a corporation or union.[13] In response to this line of questioning, Stewart further argued that under Austin the government could ban the digital distribution of political books over the Amazon Kindle or prevent a union from hiring a writer to author a political book.[14]

According to a 2012 article in The New Yorker by Jeffrey Toobin, the Court expected after oral argument to rule on the narrow question that had originally been presented: could Citizens United show the film? At the subsequent conference among the justices after oral argument, the vote was 5–4 in favor of Citizens United being allowed to show the film. The justices voted the same as they had in Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc., a similar 2007 case, with Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito in the majority.[15]

Chief Justice John Roberts, per the privilege of that office when in the majority, was in charge of assigning the majority opinion, and chose to do it himself. His opinion restricted itself narrowly, holding that the BCRA allowed the showing of the film. A draft concurrence by Kennedy argued that the court could and should have gone much further. The other justices in the majority began agreeing with Kennedy, and convinced Roberts to reassign the writing and allow Kennedy’s concurrence to instead become the majority opinion.[15]

On the other side, John Paul Stevens, the most senior justice in the minority, assigned the dissent to David Souter, who announced his retirement from the Court while he was working on it. The final draft went beyond critiquing the majority. Toobin described it as “air[ing] some of the Court’s dirty laundry,” writing that Souter’s dissent accused Roberts of having manipulated Court procedures to reach his desired result—an expansive decision that, Souter claimed, changed decades of election law and ruled on issues neither party to the litigation had presented.[15]

According to Toobin, Roberts was concerned that Souter’s dissent, likely to be his last opinion for the Court, could “damage the Court’s credibility.” He agreed with the minority to withdraw the opinion and schedule the case for reargument. However, when he did, the “Questions Presented” to the parties were more expansive, touching on the issues Kennedy had identified. According to Toobin, the eventual result was therefore a foregone conclusion from that point on, because the same majority had supported it.[15] Toobin’s account has been criticized for drawing conclusions unsupported by the evidence in his article.[16]

On June 29, 2009, the last day of the term, the Court issued an order directing the parties to re-argue the case on September 9 after briefing whether it might be necessary to overrule Austin and/or McConnell v. Federal Election Commission to decide the case.[17] Justice Stevens noted in his dissent that in its prior motion for summary judgment Citizens United had abandoned its facial challenge of BCRA §203, with the parties agreeing to the dismissal of the claim.[18]

Justice Sotomayor sat on the bench for the first time during the second round of oral arguments. This was the first case argued by then-Solicitor General and future Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. Former Bush Solicitor General Ted Olson and First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams argued for Citizens United, and former Clinton Solicitor General Seth Waxman defended the statute on behalf of various supporters.[19] Legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky called it “one of the most important First Amendment cases in years”.[20]

Opinions of the Court


The Supreme Court held in Citizens United that it was unconstitutional to ban free speech through the limitation of independent communications by corporations, associations, and unions,[21] i.e. that corporations and labor unions may spend their own money to support or oppose political candidates through independent communications like television advertisements.[22] This ruling was frequently interpreted as permitting corporations and unions to donate to political campaigns,[23] or else removing limits on how much a donor can contribute to a campaign.[24] However, these claims are incorrect, as the ruling did not affect the 1907 Tillman Act‘s ban on corporate campaign donations (as the Court noted explicitly in its decision[25]), nor the prohibition on foreign corporate donations to American campaigns,[26] nor did it concern campaign contribution limits.[27] The Citizens United decision did not disturb prohibitions on corporate contributions to candidates, and it did not address whether the government could regulate contributions to groups that make independent expenditures.[22] The Citizens United ruling did however remove the previous ban on corporations and organizations using their treasury funds for direct advocacy. These groups were freed to expressly endorse or call to vote for or against specific candidates, actions that were previously prohibited.[28]

The majority opinion, written by Justice Kennedy, was relatively short, less than 30 pages; the dissenting opinions of Justices Kennedy and Scalia in Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of Commerce and McConnell v. Federal Election Commission actually provide a more complete picture of the majority’s thinking, in many respects. Chief Justice Roberts wrote a concurring opinion to address concerns about stare decisis, andJustice Scalia wrote a concurring opinion about the history and meaning of the First Amendment. Justice Thomas wrote separately to announce his disagreement with the majority’s decision not to strike down the mandatory disclosure requirements in BCRA. Justice Stevens wrote a lengthy dissent to analyze the development of First Amendment doctrine and campaign finance restrictions and to rebut the arguments of the majority and concurring opinions.

Majority opinion

Justice Kennedy, the author of the Court’s opinion.

Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion[29] found that the BCRA §203 prohibition of all independent expenditures by corporations and unions violated the First Amendment’s protection of free speech. The majority wrote, “If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.”[30]

Justice Kennedy’s opinion for the majority also noted that because the First Amendment (and the Court) does not distinguish between media and other corporations, these restrictions would allow Congress to suppress political speech in newspapers, books, television, and blogs.[2] The Court overruled Austin, which had held that a state law that prohibited corporations from using treasury money to support or oppose candidates in elections did not violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The Court also overruled that portion of McConnell that upheld BCRA’s restriction of corporate spending on “electioneering communications”. The Court’s ruling effectively freed corporations and unions to spend money both on “electioneering communications” and to directly advocate for the election or defeat of candidates (although not to contribute directly to candidates or political parties).

The majority argued that the First Amendment protects associations of individuals in addition to individual speakers, and further that the First Amendment does not allow prohibitions of speech based on the identity of the speaker. Corporations, as associations of individuals, therefore have speech rights under the First Amendment. Because spending money is essential to disseminating speech, as established in Buckley v. Valeo, limiting a corporation’s ability to spend money is unconstitutional because it limits the ability of its members to associate effectively and to speak on political issues.

The majority overruled Austin because that decision allowed different restrictions on speech-related spending based on corporate identity. Additionally, the majority argued that Austin was based on an “equality” rationale – trying to equalize speech between different speakers – that the Court had previously rejected as illegitimate under the First Amendment in Buckley. The Michigan statute at issue inAustin had distinguished between corporate and union spending, prohibiting the former while allowing the latter. The Austin Court, over vigorous dissent by Justices Scalia, Kennedy, and Sandra Day O’Connor, had held that such distinctions were within the legislature’s prerogative. In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, however, the majority argued that the First Amendment purposefully keeps the government from interfering in the “marketplace of ideas” and “rationing” speech, and it is not up to the legislatures or the courts to create a sense of “fairness” by restricting speech.[29]

The majority also criticized Austin’s reasoning that the “distorting effect” of large corporate expenditures constituted a risk of corruption or the appearance of corruption. Rather, the majority argued that the government had no place in determining whether large expenditures distorted an audience’s perceptions, and that the type of “corruption” that might justify government controls on spending for speech had to relate to some form of “quid pro quo” transaction: “There is no such thing as too much speech.”[29] The public has a right to have access to all information and to determine the reliability and importance of the information. Additionally, the majority did not believe that reliable evidence substantiated the risk of corruption or the appearance of corruption, and so this rationale did not satisfy strict scrutiny.

The majority opinion relied heavily on the reasoning and principles of the landmark campaign finance case of Buckley and First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, in which the Court struck down a broad prohibition against independent expenditures by corporations in ballot initiatives and referenda.[29] Specifically, the majority echoed Bellotti’s rejection of categories based on a corporation’s purpose. The majority argued that to grant First Amendment protections to media corporations but not others presented a host of problems, and so all corporations should be equally protected from expenditure restrictions.

The Court found that BCRA §§201 and 311, provisions requiring disclosure of the funder, were valid as applied to the movie advertisements and to the movie itself.[29]


Chief Justice Roberts, with whom Justice Alito joined, wrote separately “to address the important principles of judicial restraint and stare decisis implicated in this case”.[31]

Roberts wrote to further explain and defend the main opinion’s statement that “there is a difference between judicial restraint and judicial abdication.” Roberts explained why the Court must sometimes overrule prior decisions. Had prior Courts never gone against stare decisis, for example, “segregation would be legal, minimum wage laws would be unconstitutional, and the Government could wiretap ordinary criminal suspects without first obtaining warrants”. Roberts’ concurrence recited a plethora of case law in which the court had ruled against precedent. Ultimately, Roberts argued that “stare decisis…counsels deference to past mistakes, but provides no justification for making new ones”.[31]

Justice Scalia joined the opinion of the Court, but also wrote a concurring opinion which was joined by Justice Alito in full and by Justice Thomas in part. Scalia addressed Justice Stevens‘ dissent, specifically with regard to the original understanding of the First Amendment. Scalia stated that Stevens’ dissent was “in splendid isolation from the text of the First Amendment…It never shows why ‘the freedom of speech’ that was the right of Englishmen did not include the freedom to speak in association with other individuals, including association in the corporate form.” He further considered the dissent’s exploration of the Framers’ views about the “role of corporations in society” to be misleading, and even if valid, irrelevant to the text. Scalia principally argued that the First Amendment was written in “terms of speech, not speakers” and that “Its text offers no foothold for excluding any category of speaker.”[32] Scalia argued that the Free Press clause was originally intended to protect the distribution of written materials and did not only apply to the media specifically. This understanding supported the majority’s contention that the Constitution does not allow the Court to separate corporations into media and non-media categories.[29]

Justice Thomas wrote a separate opinion concurring in all but the upholding of the disclosure provisions. In order to protect the anonymity of contributors to organizations exercising free speech, Thomas would have struck down the reporting requirements of BCRA §201 and §311 as well, rather than allowing them to be challenged only on a case-specific basis. Thomas’s primary argument was that anonymous free speech is protected and that making contributor lists public makes the contributors vulnerable to retaliation, citing instances of retaliation against contributors to both sides of a then recent California voter initiative. Thomas also expressed concern that such retaliation could extend to retaliation by elected officials. Thomas did not consider “as-applied challenges” to be sufficient to protect against the threat of retaliation.[33]


Justice Stevens, the author of the dissenting opinion.

A dissenting opinion by Justice Stevens[34] was joined by Justice GinsburgJustice Breyer, and Justice Sotomayor. To emphasize his unhappiness with the majority, Stevens read part of his 90 page dissent from the bench.[35] Stevens concurred in the Court’s decision to sustain BCRA’s disclosure provisions, but dissented from the principal holding of the majority opinion. The dissent argued that the Court’s ruling “threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path it has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution.” He wrote: “A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold.”

Justice Stevens also argued that the Court addressed a question not raised by the litigants when it found BCRA §203 to be facially unconstitutional, and that the majority “changed the case to give themselves an opportunity to change the law”.[29] He argued that the majority had expanded the scope beyond the questions presented by the appellant and that therefore a sufficient record for judging the case did not exist. Stevens argued that at a minimum the Court should have remanded the case for a fact-finding hearing, and that the majority did not consider other compilations of data, such as the Congressional record for justifying BCRA §203.

Stevens referenced a number of major First Amendment cases to argue that the Court had long recognized that to deny Congress the power to safeguard against “the improper use of money to influence the result [of an election] is to deny to the nation in a vital particular the power of self protection”.[36] After recognizing that in Buckley v. Valeo the Court had struck down portions of a broad prohibition of independent expenditures from any sources, Stevens argued that nevertheless Buckley recognized the legitimacy of “prophylactic” measures for limiting campaign spending and found the prevention of “corruption” to be a reasonable goal for legislation. Consequently, Stevens argued that Buckley left the door open for carefully tailored future regulation.[29] Although the majority echoed many of the arguments in First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, Stevens argued that the majority opinion contradicted the reasoning of other campaign finance cases – in particular, Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of Commerce and McConnell v. Federal Election Commission – and found it telling that the majority, when citing such cases, referenced mainly dissenting opinions.

Stevens’ lengthy dissent specifically sought to address a number of the majority’s central arguments:

First, Stevens argued that the majority failed to recognize the possibility for corruption outside of strict quid pro quo exchanges. Stevens referenced facts from a previous BCRA challenge to argue that, even if the exchange of votes for expenditures could not be shown, contributors gain favorable political access from such expenditures.[29] The majority considered access to be insufficient justification for limiting speech rights.

Stevens, however, argued that in the past, even when striking down a ban on corporate independent expenditures, the Court “never suggested that such quid pro quo debts must take the form of outright vote buying or bribes” (Bellotti). Buckley, he claimed, also acknowledged that large independent expenditures present the same dangers as quid pro quo arrangements, although Buckley struck down limits on such independent expenditures. Using the record from a previous BCRA §203 challenge, he argued that independent expenditures were sometimes a factor in gaining political access and concluded that large independent expenditures generate more influence than direct campaign contributions.[29] Furthermore, Stevens argued that corporations could threaten Representatives and Senators with negative advertising to gain unprecedented leverage. Stevens supported his argument by citing Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co.,[37] where the Court held that $3 million in independent expenditures in a judicial race raised sufficient questions about a judge’s impartiality to require the judge to recuse himself in a future case involving the spender. Stevens argued that it was contradictory for the majority to ignore the same risks in legislative and executive elections, and argued that the majority opinion would exacerbate the problem presented in Caperton because of the number of states with judicial elections and increased spending in judicial races.

Second, Stevens argued that the majority did not place enough emphasis on the need to prevent the “appearance of corruption” in elections. Earlier cases, including Buckley and Bellotti, recognized the importance of public confidence in democracy. Stevens cited recent data indicating that 80% of the public view corporate independent expenditures as a method used to gain unfair legislative access.[29] Stevens predicted that if the public believes that corporations dominate elections, disaffected voters will stop participating.

Third, Stevens argued that the majority’s decision failed to recognize the dangers of the corporate form. Austin held that the prevention of corruption, including the distorting influence of a dominant funding source, was a sufficient reason for regulating corporate independent expenditures. In defending Austin, Stevens argued that the unique qualities of corporations and other artificial legal entities made them dangerous to democratic elections. These legal entities, he argued, have perpetual life, the ability to amass large sums of money, limited liability, no ability to vote, no morality, no purpose outside of profit-making, and no loyalty. Therefore, he argued, the courts should permit legislatures to regulate corporate participation in the political process.

Legal entities, Stevens wrote, are not “We the People” for whom our Constitution was established.[29] Therefore, he argued, they should not be given speech protections under the First Amendment. The First Amendment, he argued, protects individual self-expression, self-realization and the communication of ideas. Corporate spending is the “furthest from the core of political expression” protected by the Constitution, he argued, citing Federal Election Commission v. Beaumont,[38] and corporate spending on politics should be viewed as a business transaction designed by the officers or the boards of directors for no purpose other than profit-making. Stevens called corporate spending “more transactional than ideological”. Stevens also pointed out that any member of a corporation may spend personal money on promoting a campaign because BCRA only prohibited the use of general treasury money.

Fourth, Stevens attacked the majority’s central argument: that the prohibition of spending guards free speech and allows the general public to receive all available information. Relying on Austin, Stevens argued that corporations “unfairly influence” the electoral process with vast sums of money that few individuals can match, which distorts the public debate. Because a typical voter can only absorb so much information during a relevant election period, Stevens described “unfair corporate influence” as the potential to outspend others, to push others out of prime broadcasting spots and to dominate the “marketplace of ideas”.[29] This process, he argued, puts disproportionate focus on this speech and gives the impression of widespread support regardless of actual support. Thus, this process marginalizes the speech of other individuals and groups.

Stevens referred to the majority’s argument that “there is no such thing as too much speech” as “facile” and a “straw man” argument. He called it an incorrect statement of First Amendment law because the Court recognizes numerous exceptions to free speech, such as fighting words, obscenity restrictions, time, place and manner restrictions, etc. Throughout the dissent, Stevens argued that the majority’s “slogan” ignored the possibility that too much speech from one source could “drown out” other points of view.

Fifth, Stevens criticized the majority’s fear that the government could use BCRA §203 to censor the media. The focus placed on this hypothetical fear made no sense to Stevens because it did not relate to the facts of this case—if the government actually attempted to apply BCRA §203 to the media (and assuming that Citizens United could not constitute “media”), the Court could deal with the problem at that time. Stevens described the majority’s supposed protection of the media as nothing more than posturing. According to Stevens, it was the majority’s new rule, announced in this case, that prohibited a law from distinguishing between “speakers” or funding sources. This new rule would be the only reason why media corporations could not be exempted from BCRA §203. In this, Stevens and the majority conceptualize the First Amendment’s protection of “the press” quite differently. Stevens argues that the “Press” is an entity, which can be distinguished from other persons and entities which are not “press”. The majority opinion viewed “freedom of the press” as an activity, applicable to all citizens or groups of citizens seeking to publish views.

Sixth, Stevens claimed that the majority failed to give proper deference to the legislature. Stevens predicted that this ruling would restrict the ability of the states to experiment with different methods for decreasing corruption in elections. According to Stevens, this ruling virtually ended those efforts, “declaring by fiat” that people will not “lose faith in our democracy”.[29] Because of the complex interrelated interests at stake, Stevens found this an undesirable area of law for black-and-white rules. Stevens argued that the majority’s view of a self-serving legislature, passing campaign-spending laws to gain an advantage in retaining a seat, coupled with “strict scrutiny” of laws, would make it difficult for any campaign finance regulation to be upheld in future cases.

Seventh, Stevens argued that the majority opinion ignored the rights of shareholders. A series of cases protects individuals from legally compelled payment of union dues to support political speech.[39] Because shareholders invest money in corporations, Stevens argued that the law should likewise help to protect shareholders from funding speech that they oppose. The majority, however, argued that ownership of corporate stock was voluntary, and that unhappy shareholders could simply sell off their shares if they did not agree with the corporation’s speech. Stevens also argued that Political Action Committees (PACs), which allow individual members of a corporation to invest money in a separate fund, are an adequate substitute for general corporate speech and better protect shareholder rights. The majority, by contrast, had argued that most corporations are too small and lack the resources and raw number of shareholders and management staff necessary to cover the compliance, accounting, and administrative costs of maintaining a PAC. In this dispute, the opposing views essentially discussed differing types of entities: Stevens focused his argument on large, publicly held corporations, while the justices in the majority, and particularly Justice Scalia’s concurring opinion, placed an emphasis on small, closely held corporations and non-profits.

Stevens called the majority’s faith in “corporate democracy” an unrealistic method for a shareholder to oppose political funding. A derivative suit is slow, inefficient, risky and potentially expensive. Likewise, shareholder meetings only happen a few times a year, not prior to every decision or transaction. Rather, the officers and boards control the day-to-day spending, including political spending. According to Stevens, the shareholders have few options, giving them “virtually nonexistent” recourse for opposing a corporation’s political spending.[29] Furthermore, most shareholders use investment intermediaries, such as mutual funds or pensions, and by the time a shareholder may find out about a corporation’s political spending and try to object, the damage is done and the shareholder has funded disfavored speech.

Stevens concluded his dissent:

At bottom, the Court’s opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.


Correspondingly, Stevens and the other dissenting justices would have upheld the constitutionality of BCRA §203 and its restriction against advertising and broadcasting “Hillary: The Movie” within 30 days of the primary election on the grounds that the movie was produced and distributed by a corporate entity.

Subsequent developments

There was a wide range of reactions to the case from politicians, academics, attorneys, advocacy groups and journalists.



Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who attended the announcement of the ruling, said the court “struck a blow for the First Amendment”.[40]

Republican campaign consultant Ed Rollins opined that the decision adds transparency to the election process and will make it more competitive.[41]

Advocacy groups

Citizens United, the group filing the lawsuit said, “Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing Citizens United to air its documentary films and advertisements is a tremendous victory, not only for Citizens United but for every American who desires to participate in the political process.”[42] During litigation, Citizens United had support from the United States Chamber of Commerce and the National Rifle Association.[40]

Campaign finance attorney Cleta Mitchell, who had filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of two advocacy organizations opposing the ban, wrote that “The Supreme Court has correctly eliminated a constitutionally flawed system that allowed media corporations (e.g., The Washington Post Co.) to freely disseminate their opinions about candidates using corporate treasury funds, while denying that constitutional privilege to Susie’s Flower Shop Inc. … The real victims of the corporate expenditure ban have been nonprofit advocacy organizations across the political spectrum.”[43]

Heritage Foundation fellow Hans A. von Spakovsky, a former Republican member of the Federal Election Commission, said “The Supreme Court has restored a part of the First Amendment that had been unfortunately stolen by Congress and a previously wrongly-decided ruling of the court.”[44]

Libertarian Cato Institute analysts John Samples and Ilya Shapiro wrote that restrictions on advertising were based on the idea “that corporations had so much money that their spending would create vast inequalities in speech that would undermine democracy”. However, “to make campaign spending equal or nearly so, the government would have to force some people or groups to spend less than they wished. And equality of speech is inherently contrary to protecting speech from government restraint, which is ultimately the heart of American conceptions of free speech.”[45]

The American Civil Liberties Union filed an amicus brief that supported the decision,[46] saying that “section 203 should now be struck down as facially unconstitutional”, though membership was split over the implications of the ruling and its board sent the issue to its special committee on campaign finance for further consideration.[47] On March 27, 2012, the ACLU reaffirmed its stance in support of the Supreme Court’sCitizens United ruling.[48]

Academics and attorneys

Bradley A. Smith, professor of law at Capital University Law School, former chairman of the FEC, founder of the Center for Competitive Politics and a leading proponent of deregulation of campaign finance, wrote that the major opponents of political free speech are “incumbent politicians” who “are keen to maintain a chokehold on such speech”. Empowering “small and midsize corporations—and every incorporated mom-and-pop falafel joint, local firefighters’ union, and environmental group—to make its voice heard” frightens them.[49] In response to statements by President Obama and others that the ruling would allow foreign entities to gain political influence through U.S. subsidiaries, Smith pointed out that the decision did not overturn the ban on political donations by foreign corporations and the prohibition on any involvement by foreign nationals in decisions regarding political spending by U.S. subsidiaries, which are covered by other parts of the law.[50]

Campaign finance expert Jan Baran, a member of the Commission on Federal Ethics Law Reform, agreed with the decision, writing that “The history of campaign finance reform is the history of incumbent politicians seeking to muzzle speakers, any speakers, particularly those who might publicly criticize them and their legislation. It is a lot easier to legislate against unions, gun owners, ‘fat cat’ bankers, health insurance companies and any other industry or ‘special interest’ group when they can’t talk back.” Baran further noted that in general conservatives and libertarians praised the ruling’s preservation of the First Amendment and freedom of speech, but that liberals and campaign finance reformers criticized it as greatly expanding the role of corporate money in politics.[51]

Attorney Kenneth Gross, former associate general counsel of the FEC, wrote that corporations relied more on the development of long-term relationships, political action committees and personal contributions, which were not affected by the decision. He held that while trade associations might seek to raise funds and support candidates, corporations which have “signed on to transparency agreements regarding political spending” may not be eager to give.[43]

The New York Times asked seven academics to opine on how corporate money would reshape politics as a result of the court’s decision.[52] Three of these wrote that the effects would be minimal or positive: Christopher Cotton, a University of Miami School of Business assistant professor of economics, wrote that “There may be very little difference between seeing eight ads or seeing nine ads (compared to seeing one ad or two). And, voters recognize that richer candidates are not necessarily the better candidates, and in some cases, the benefit of running more ads is offset by the negative signal that spending a lot of money creates.[52] Eugene Volokh, a professor of law at UCLA, stated that the “most influential actors in most political campaigns” are media corporations which “overtly editorialize for and against candidates, and also influence elections by choosing what to cover and how to cover it”. Holding that corporations like Exxon would fear alienating voters by supporting candidates, the decision really meant that voters would hear “more messages from more sources”.[52] Joel Gora, a professor at Brooklyn Law School who had previously argued the case of Buckley v. Valeo on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union, said that the decision represented “a great day for the First Amendment” writing that the Court had “dismantled the First Amendment ‘caste system’ in election speech”.[52]


The Editorial Board of the San Antonio Express-News criticized McCain–Feingold’s exception for media corporations from the ban on corporate electioneering, writing that it “makes no sense” that the paper could make endorsements up until the day of the election but advocacy groups could not. “While the influence of money on the political process is troubling and sometimes corrupting, abridging political speech is the wrong way to counterbalance that influence.”[53]

Anthony Dick in National Review countered a number of arguments against the decision, asking rhetorically, “is there something uniquely harmful and/or unworthy of protection about political messages that come from corporations and unions, as opposed to, say, rich individuals, persuasive writers, or charismatic demagogues?” He noted that “a recent Gallup poll shows that a majority of the public actually agrees with the Court that corporations and unions should be treated just like individuals in terms of their political-expenditure rights”.[54] A Gallup poll taken in October 2009 and released soon after the decision showed 57 percent of those surveyed agreed that contributions to political candidates are a form of free speech and 55 percent agreed that the same rules should apply to individuals, corporations and unions. Sixty-four percent of Democrats and Republicans believed campaign donations are a form of free speech.[55]

Chicago Tribune editorial board member Steve Chapman wrote “If corporate advocacy may be forbidden as it was under the law in question, it’s not just Exxon Mobil and Citigroup that are rendered mute. Nonprofit corporations set up merely to advance goals shared by citizens, such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Rifle Association, also have to put a sock in it. So much for the First Amendment goal of fostering debate about public policy.”[56]


American politicians[edit]

President Barack Obama stated that the decision “gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington—while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates”.[57] Obama later elaborated in his weekly radio address saying, “this ruling strikes at our democracy itself” and “I can’t think of anything more devastating to the public interest”.[58] On January 27, 2010, Obama further condemned the decision during the 2010 State of the Union Address, stating that, “Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law[59] to open the floodgates for special interests—including foreign corporations—to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.”

Democratic senator Russ Feingold, a lead sponsor of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, stated “This decision was a terrible mistake. Presented with a relatively narrow legal issue, the Supreme Court chose to roll back laws that have limited the role of corporate money in federal elections since Teddy Roosevelt was president.”[60] Representative Alan Grayson, a Democrat, stated that it was “the worst Supreme Court decision since the Dred Scott case, and that the court had opened the door to political bribery and corruption in elections to come.[61] Democratic congresswoman Donna Edwards, along with constitutional law professor and Maryland Democratic State Senator Jamie Raskin, have advocated petitions to reverse the decision by means of constitutional amendment.[62] Rep. Leonard Boswell introduced legislation to amend the constitution.[63] Senator John Kerry also called for an Amendment to overrule the decision.[64] On December 8, 2011, Senator Bernie Sanders proposed the Saving American Democracy Amendment, which would reverse the court’s ruling.[65][66]

Republican Senator John McCain, co-crafter of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act and the party’s 2008 presidential nominee, said “there’s going to be, over time, a backlash … when you see the amounts of union and corporate money that’s going to go into political campaigns”.[67] McCain was “disappointed by the decision of the Supreme Court and the lifting of the limits on corporate and union contributions” but not surprised by the decision, saying that “It was clear that Justice Roberts, Alito and Scalia, by their very skeptical and even sarcastic comments, were very much opposed to BCRA.”[60] Republican Senator Olympia Snowe opined that “Today’s decision was a serious disservice to our country.”[68]

Although federal law after Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission still prohibited corporate contributions to all political parties, Sanda Everette, co-chair of the Green Party, stated that “The ruling especially hurts the ability of parties that don’t accept corporate contributions, like the Green Party, to compete.” Another Green Party officer, Rich Whitney, stated “In a transparently political decision, a majority of the US Supreme Court overturned its own recent precedent and paid tribute to the giant corporate interests that already wield tremendous power over our political process and political speech.”

Ralph Nader, a lawyer who placed third in the popular vote in the presidential elections of 2000, 2004, and 2008, condemned the ruling,[69] saying that “With this decision, corporations can now directly pour vast amounts of corporate money, through independent expenditures, into the electoral swamp already flooded with corporate campaign PAC contribution dollars.” He called for shareholder resolutions asking company directors to pledge not to use company money to favor or oppose electoral candidates.[70] Pat Choate, former Reform Party candidate for Vice President, stated, “The court has, in effect, legalized foreign governments and foreign corporations to participate in our electoral politics.”[71]


Ambassador Janez Lenarčič, speaking for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe‘s election body, which has overseen over 150 elections, stated that the ruling may adversely affect the organization’s two commitments of “giving voters a genuine choice and giving candidates a fair chance” in that “it threatens to further marginalize candidates without strong financial backing or extensive personal resources, thereby in effect narrowing the political arena”.[72]

Academics and attorneys

Money Isn’t Speech and Corporations Aren’t People
David Kairys[73]

The constitutional law scholar Laurence H. Tribe wrote that the decision “marks a major upheaval in First Amendment law and signals the end of whatever legitimate claim could otherwise have been made by the Roberts Court to an incremental and minimalist approach to constitutional adjudication, to a modest view of the judicial role vis-à-vis the political branches, or to a genuine concern with adherence to precedent” and pointed out, “Talking about a business corporation as merely another way that individuals might choose to organize their association with one another to pursue their common expressive aims is worse than unrealistic; it obscures the very real injustice and distortion entailed in the phenomenon of some people using other people’s money to support candidates they have made no decision to support, or to oppose candidates they have made no decision to oppose.”[74]

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, whose opinions had changed from dissenting in Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of Commerce to co-authoring (with Stevens) the majority opinion in McConnell v. Federal Election Commission twelve years later, criticized the decision only obliquely, but warned, “In invalidating some of the existing checks on campaign spending, the majority in Citizens United has signaled that the problem of campaign contributions in judicial elections might get considerably worse and quite soon.”[75]

Richard L. Hasen, professor of election law at Loyola Law School, argued that the ruling “is activist, it increases the dangers of corruption in our political system and it ignores the strong tradition of American political equality”. He also described Justice Kennedy’s “specter of blog censorship” as sounding more like “the rantings of a right-wing talk show host than the rational view of a justice with a sense of political realism”.[76]

Kathleen M. Sullivan, professor at Stanford Law School and Steven J. Andre, adjunct professor at Lincoln Law School, argued that two different visions of freedom of speech exist and clashed in the case. An egalitarian vision skeptical of the power of large agglomerations of wealth to skew the political process conflicted with a libertarian vision skeptical of government being placed in the role of determining what speech people should or should not hear.[77][78] Wayne Batchis, Professor at the University of Delaware, in contrast, argues that the Citizens United decision represents a misguided interpretation of the non-textual freedom of association.[79]

The four other scholars of the seven writing in the aforementioned New York Times article were critical.[52] Richard L. Hasen, Distinguished Professor of election law at Loyola Law School argued differently from his Slate article above, concentrating on the “inherent risk of corruption that comes when someone spends independently to try to influence the outcome of judicial elections”, since judges are less publicly accountable than elected officials. Heather K. Gerken, Professor of Law at Yale Law School wrote that “The court has done real damage to the cause of reform, but that damage mostly came earlier, with decisions that made less of a splash.” Michael Waldman, director of the Brennan Center for Justice at N.Y.U. School of Law, opined that the decision “matches or exceeds Bush v. Gore in ideological or partisan overreaching by the court”, explaining how “Exxon or any other firm could spend Bloomberg-level sums in any congressional district in the country against, say, any congressman who supports climate change legislation, or health care, etc.” andFred Wertheimer, founder and president of Democracy 21 considered that “Chief Justice Roberts has abandoned the illusory public commitments he made to ‘judicial modesty’ and ‘respect for precedent’ to cast the deciding vote for a radical decision that profoundly undermines our democracy,” and that “Congress and presidents past have recognized this danger and signed numerous laws over the years to prevent this kind of corruption of our government.”[52]


The New York Times stated in an editorial, “The Supreme Court has handed lobbyists a new weapon. A lobbyist can now tell any elected official: if you vote wrong, my company, labor union or interest group will spend unlimited sums explicitly advertising against your re-election.”[80] Jonathan Alter called it the “most serious threat to American democracy in a generation”.[81] The Christian Science Monitor wrote that the Court had declared “outright that corporate expenditures cannot corrupt elected officials, that influence over lawmakers is not corruption, and that appearance of influence will not undermine public faith in our democracy”.[82]

Media coverage

Political blogs

Most blogs avoided the theoretical aspects of the decision and focused on more personal and dramatic elements, including the Barack ObamaSamuel Alito face-off during the President’s State of the Union address.[83] There, President Obama argued that the decision “reversed a century of law” (the federal ban on corporate and union expenditures dates from 1947) and that it would allow “foreign corporations to spend without limits in our elections”, during which Justice Alito, in the audience, perceptibly mouthed the words “not true”. This event received extensive comment from political bloggers, with a substantial amount of the coverage concentrated on whether or not foreign corporations would be able to make substantial political contributions in US elections. In the opinion, the Court had specifically indicated it was not overturning the ban on foreign contributions.

Opinion polls

ABC-Washington Post poll results.

An ABC–Washington Post poll conducted February 4–8, 2010, showed that 80% of those surveyed opposed (and 65% strongly opposed) the Citizens United ruling, which the poll described as saying “corporations and unions can spend as much money as they want to help political candidates win elections”. Additionally, 72% supported “an effort by Congress to reinstate limits on corporate and union spending on election campaigns”. The poll showed large majority support from Democrats, Republicans and independents.[84][85][86]

Gallup Poll conducted in October 2009, after oral argument, but released after the Supreme Court released its opinion, found that 57 percent of those surveyed “agreed that money given to political candidates is a form of free speech” and 55 percent agreed that the “same rules should apply to individuals, corporations and unions”. However, in the same poll respondents by 52% to 41% prioritized limits on campaign contributions over protecting rights to support campaigns and 76% thought the government should be able to place limits on corporation or union donations.[87][88]

Separate polls by various conservative organizations, including the plaintiff Citizens United and the Center for Competitive Politics, found support for the decision.[89] In particular, the Center for Competitive Politics poll[90] found that 51% of respondents believed that Citizens United should have a right to air ads promoting Hillary: The Movie. The poll also found that only 22 percent had heard of the case.

Further court rulings

SpeechNow is a nonprofit, unincorporated association organized as a section 527 entity under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. The organization was formed by individuals who seek to pool their resources to make independent expenditures expressly advocating the election or defeat of federal candidates. SpeechNow planned to accept contributions only from individuals, not corporations or other sources prohibited under the Federal Election Campaign Act. On February 14, 2008, SpeechNow and several individual plaintiffs filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the constitutionality of the Federal Election Campaign Act provisions governing political committee registration, contribution limits and disclosure. The plaintiffs contended that the Act unconstitutionally restricts their association guaranteed under the First Amendment. By requiring registration as a political committee and limiting the monetary amount that an individual may contribute to a political committee, SpeechNow and the other plaintiffs asserted that the Act unconstitutionally restricted the individuals’ freedom of speech by limiting the amount that an individual can contribute to SpeechNow and thus the amount the organization may spend. SpeechNow also argued that the reporting required of political committees is unconstitutionally burdensome.[91]

On March 26, 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in v. FEC that the contribution limits of 2 U.S.C. §441a were unconstitutional as applied to individuals’ contributions to SpeechNow. The court also ruled that the reporting requirements of 2 U.S.C. §§432, 433 and 434(a) and the organizational requirements of 2 U.S.C. §431(4) and §431(8) can be constitutionally applied to SpeechNow.[91] A unanimous nine-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals[92] struck down the federal limits on contributions to federal political committees that make only independent expenditures and do not contribute to candidates or political parties. This type of “independent expenditure committee” is inherently non-corruptive, the Court reasoned, and therefore contributions to such a committee can not be limited based on the government’s interest in preventing political corruption.[28] In light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC, in which the Supreme Court held that the government has no anti-corruption interest in limiting independent expenditures, the appeals court ruled that “contributions to groups that make only independent expenditures cannot corrupt or create the appearance of corruption.” As a result, the court of appeals held that the government has no anti-corruption interest in limiting contributions to an independent group such as SpeechNow. Contribution limits as applied to SpeechNow “violate the First Amendment by preventing [individuals] from donating to SpeechNow in excess of the limits and by prohibiting SpeechNow from accepting donations in excess of the limits.” The court noted that its holding does not affect direct contributions to candidates, but rather contributions to a group that makes only independent expenditures.[91] The appeals court held that, while disclosure and reporting requirements do impose a burden on First Amendment interests, they “‘impose no ceiling on campaign related activities'” and “‘do not prevent anyone from speaking.'” Furthermore, the court held that the additional reporting requirements that the Commission would impose on SpeechNow if it were organized as a political committee are minimal, “given the relative simplicity with which SpeechNow intends to operate.” Since SpeechNow already had a number of “planned contributions” from individuals, the court ruled that SpeechNow could not compare itself to “ad hoc groups that want to create themselves on the spur of the moment.” Since the public has an interest in knowing who is speaking about a candidate and who is funding that speech, the court held that requiring such disclosure and organization as a political committee are sufficiently important governmental interests to justify the additional reporting and registration burdens on SpeechNow.[91]

On June 27, 2011, ruling in the consolidated cases Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett (No. 10-238) and McComish v. Bennett (No. 10-239), the Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional an Arizona law that provided extra taxpayer-funded support for office seekers who have been outspent by privately funded opponents or by independent political groups. A conservative 5–4 majority of justices said the law violated free speech, concluding the state was impermissibly trying to “level the playing field” through a public finance system. Arizona lawmakers had argued there was a compelling state interest in equalizing resources among competing candidates and interest groups.[93] Opponents said the law violated free-speech rights of the privately financed candidates and their contributors, inhibiting fundraising and spending, discouraging participation in campaigns and limiting what voters hear about politics.[94] Chief Justice John Roberts said in the court’s majority opinion that the law substantially burdened political speech and was not sufficiently justified to survive First Amendment scrutiny.[94]

As a consequence of the decision, states and municipalities are blocked from using a method of public financing that is simultaneously likely to attract candidates fearful that they will be vastly outspent and sensitive to avoiding needless government expense. “The government can still use taxpayer funds to subsidize political campaigns, but it can only do that in a manner that provides an alternative to private financing” said William R. Maurer, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice, which represented several challengers of the law. “It cannot create disincentives.”[95] The ruling meant the end of similar matching-fund programs in Connecticut, Maine and a few other places according to David Primo, a political science professor at the University of Rochester who was an expert witness for the law’s challengers.[96]

Despite the Citizens United ruling, In December 2011, the Montana Supreme Court, in Western Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Attorney General of Montana, upheld that state’s law limiting corporate contributions. Examining the history of corporate interference in Montana government that led to the Corrupt Practices Law, the majority decided that the state still had a compelling reason to maintain the restrictions. It ruled that these restrictions on speech were narrowly tailored and withstood strict scrutiny and thus did not contradict Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

While granting permission to file a Certiorari petition, the US Supreme Court agreed to stay the Montana ruling, although Justices Ginsburg and Breyer wrote a short statement urging the Court “to consider whether, in light of the huge sums of money currently deployed to buy candidate’s allegiance, Citizens United should continue to hold sway”.[97] In June 2012, over the dissent of the same four judges who dissented in Citizens United, the Court simultaneously granted certiorari and summarily reversed the decision in Bullock.[98] The Supreme Court majority rejected the Montana Supreme Court arguments in a two paragraph, twenty line per curiam opinion, stating that these arguments “either were already rejected in Citizens United, or fail to meaningfully distinguish that case.”[99] The ruling makes clear that states cannot bar corporate and union political expenditures in state elections.[100]

Legislative responses

Legislative impact

The New York Times reported that 24 states with laws prohibiting or limiting independent expenditures by unions and corporations would have to change their campaign finance laws because of the ruling.[101]

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) proposed that candidates who sign up small donors receive $900,000 in public money. Others proposed that laws on corporate governance be amended to assure that shareholders vote on political expenditures.[81]

In February 2010, Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, immediate past Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, outlined legislation aimed at undoing the decision.[102] In April 2010, they introduced such legislation in the Senate and House, respectively.[103] On June 24, 2010, H.R.5175 (The DISCLOSE Act) passed in the House of Representatives but failed in the Senate. It would have required additional disclosure by corporations of their campaign expenditures. The law, if passed, would also have prohibited political spending by U.S. companies with twenty percent or more foreign ownership, and by most government contractors.[104]

The DISCLOSE Act included exemptions to its rules given to certain special interests such as the National Rifle Association and the American Association of Retired Persons. These gaps within the proposal attracted criticism from lawmakers on both political parties. “They are auctioning off pieces of the First Amendment in this bill… The bigger you are, the stronger you are, the less disclosure you have,” said Republican Congressman Dan Lungren of California. Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California commented, “I wish there had been no carve-outs”.[105]

The DISCLOSE Act twice failed to pass the U.S. Senate in the 111th Congress, in both instances reaching only 59 of the 60 votes required to overcome a unified Republican filibuster.[106][107]

A trimmed back version of the DISCLOSE Act was reintroduced in both the House and Senate in 2012 but did not pass.[citation needed]

Some have argued for a constitutional amendment to overturn the decision. Move to Amend, a coalition formed in response to the ruling,[108] seeks to amend the Constitution to abolish corporate personhood, thus stripping corporations of all rights under the Constitution.[109][110] In an online chat with web community Reddit, President Obama endorsed further consideration of a constitutional amendment and stated “Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court Doesn’t revisit it)”.[111] He further elaborated that “Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight of the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.”[111]

States lawmakers and local elected officials urge for federal constitutional amendment[edit]

Sixteen states have called for a constitutional amendment to reverse the court’s decision:

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia.[112][113]

In Vermont, the General Assembly approved “Joint Resolution Senate” No. 27 on May 2, 2014, going so far as to apply to Congress to call an Article V Convention to draft and propose a federal constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. In California, the lower house of the Legislature approved “Assembly Joint Resolution” No. 1 on January 30, 2014, to likewise call a constitutional convention to pass an amendment that would repeal the decision; the California Senate has not yet acted, however.[114][115] And in Minnesota, the House of Representatives has yet to vote on “Senate File” No. 17 which was approved by that state’s Senate on May 2, 2013.

On a local level, Washington D.C. and almost 400 other municipalities have also passed resolutions requesting a federal constitutional amendment—itemized on the United for the People website.[116]

Super PACs

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has often been credited for the creation of “super PACs“, political action committees which make no contributions to candidates or parties and so can accept unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations and unions. Certainly, the holding in Citizens United helped affirm the legal basis for super PACs by deciding that, for purposes of establishing a “compelling government interest” of corruption sufficient to justify government limitations on political speech, “independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption”.[117] However, it took another decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, v. Federal Election Commission, to actually authorize the creation of super PACs. While Citizens United held that corporations and unions could make independent expenditures, a separate provision of the Federal Election Campaign Act, at least as long interpreted by the Federal Election Commission, held that individuals could not contribute to a common fund without it becoming a PAC. PACs, in turn, were not allowed to accept corporate or union contributions of any size or to accept individual contributions in excess of $5000. In, the D.C. Circuit, sitting en banc, held 9–0 that in light of Citizens United, such restrictions on the sources and size of contributions could not apply to an organization that made only independent expenditures in support of or opposition to a candidate, but not contributions to a candidate’s campaign.[118] The effectiveness of this system remains a hot topic in American politics. See Political Action Committee.

Citizens United and SpeechNOW left their imprint on the 2012 United States presidential election. In any event, the implications of Citizens United were quickly apparent. In March, 2010, the D.C. Circuit ruled that individuals could make unlimited contributions to so-called Super PACs, which supported individual candidates. This opened the door for Presidential campaigns in 2012 that were essentially underwritten by single individuals. Sheldon Adelson, the gambling entrepreneur, gave approximately fifteen million dollars to support Newt GingrichFoster Friess, a Wyoming financier, donated almost two million dollars to Rick Santorum’s Super PAC. Karl Rove organized Super PACs that spent over $300 million in support of Republicans during the 2012 elections.[119]

In addition to indirectly providing support for the creation of super PACs, Citizens United allowed incorporated 501(c)(4) public advocacy groups (such as the National Rifle Association or Sierra Club, or the group Citizens United itself) and trade associations to make expenditures in political races. Such groups may not, under the tax code, have a primary purpose of engaging in electoral advocacy. These organizations must disclose their expenditures, but unlike super PACs they do not have to include the names of their donors in their FEC filings. A number of partisan organizations, such as Karl Rove‘s influential conservativeCrossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies or the liberal 21st Century Colorado, have since registered as tax-exempt 501(c)(4) groups (defined as groups promoting “social welfare”) and engaged in substantial political spending.[120][121] This has led to claims[122][123][124] of large secret donations, and questions about whether such groups should be required to disclose their donors. Historically, such non-profits have not been required to disclose their donors or names of members. See National Association for the Advancement of Colored People v. Alabama.

See also


  1. Jump up to:a b “Summary Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (Docket No. 08-205)”Cornell University School of Law.
  2. Jump up to:a b c Liptak, Adam (2010-01-21). “Justices, 5–4, Reject Corporate Spending Limit”New York Times.
  3. Jump up^ Liptak, Adam (2009-08-29). “Supreme Court to Revisit ‘Hillary’ Documentary”New York Times.
  4. Jump up^ Hasen, Richard (2010-01-21). “Money Grubbers: The Supreme Court kills campaign finance reform”Slate.
  5. Jump up^ Carney, Eliza (2010-01-21). “Court Unlikely To Stop With Citizens United”National Journal. Retrieved 2010-01-21.
  6. Jump up^ FEC finding August 6, 2004
  7. Jump up^ “Compliance Cases Made Public” (Press release). Federal Election Commission. August 9, 2005
  8. Jump up to:a b Barnes, Robert (2009-03-15). “‘Hillary: The Movie’ to Get Supreme Court Screening”The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
  9. Jump up^ “Memorandum Opinion” (PDF). Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission. District Court for the District of Columbia. 2008-01-15. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
  10. Jump up^ “Docket for 08-205”U.S. Supreme Court. 2008-08-18.
  11. Jump up^ Ross, Lee (2009-03-18). “March 24: Hillary Clinton Film Challenged”Fox News. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
  12. Jump up^ Holland, Jesse J. (March 22, 2009). “”Hillary: The Movie” next on Supreme Court docket”Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Associated Press. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
  13. Jump up^ Liptak, Adam (March 25, 2009). “Justices Seem Skeptical of Scope of Campaign Law”The New York Times. p. A16.
  14. Jump up^ Smith, Bradley. “The Myth of Campaign Finance Reform”.
  15. Jump up to:a b c d Toobin, Jeffrey (May 21, 2012). “Annals of Law: Money Unlimited”The New Yorker. Retrieved May 20, 2012.
  16. Jump up^ Goldstein, Tom (May 21, 2012). “SCOTUS Blog: Jeff Toobin on Citizens United”.
  17. Jump up^ Barnes, Robert (2009-06-30). “Justices to Review Campaign Finance Law Constraints”The Washington Post.
  18. Jump up^ CounterPunch, February 4, 2010, Chucking Precedent at the High Court
  19. Jump up^ “Hillary: The Oral Argument”The Washington Post.
  20. Jump up^ Liptak, Adam (2009-08-06). “Sotomayor Faces Heavy Workload of Complex Cases”The New York Times.
  21. Jump up^ “Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission”. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
  22. Jump up to:a b Liptak, Adam (March 26, 2010). “Courts Take On Campaign Finance Decision”The New York Times. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  23. Jump up^ Obama, Barack. “Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on the State of the Union”Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley. The American Presidency Project. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  24. Jump up^ E.J. Dionne Jr. (February 6, 2012). “The Citizens United catastrophe”The Washington Post. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  25. Jump up^ Citizens United v. FEC, 130 S. Ct. 876 (2010), at 887, 909.
  26. Jump up^ Citizens United v. FEC, 130 S. Ct. 876 (2010), at 947 (Stevens, J., dissenting)
  27. Jump up^ Citizens United v. FEC, 130 S. Ct. 876 (2010), at 937, fn. 15 (Stevens, J., dissenting)
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  31. Jump up to:a b Roberts opinion et ibid.
  32. Jump up^ Scalia opinion at ibid.
  33. Jump up^ Thomas opinion at ibid.
  34. Jump up^ Stevens opinion at ibid.
  35. Jump up^ McElroy, Linda (January 22, 2010). “Citizens United v. FEC in plain English”SCOTUSblog. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
  36. Jump up^ Burroughs v. United States, 290 U.S. 534 (1934)
  37. Jump up^ Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co., 556 U.S. _ (2009)
  38. Jump up^ Federal Election Commission v. Beaumont, 539 U.S. 146 (2003)
  39. Jump up^ Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, 431 U.S. 209 (1977)
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  41. Jump up^ Rollins, Ed (2010-01-22). “Another shock to the Washington system”. CNN. Retrieved 2010-01-26.
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  44. Jump up^ Dinan, Stephen (2010-01-21). “Divided court strikes down campaign money restrictions”The Washington Times. p. 2.
  45. Jump up^ Samples, John; Shapiro, Ilya (2010-01-21). “Free Speech for All”.Cato Institute.
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  47. Jump up^ Goldstein, Joseph (2010-01-24). “ACLU May Reverse Course On Campaign Finance Limits After Supreme Court Ruling”New York Sun. Retrieved 2010-01-26.
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  50. Jump up^ Smith, Bradley (2010-01-27). “President Wrong on Citizens United Case”National Review.
  51. Jump up^ Baran, Jan Witold (2010-01-25). “Stampede Toward Democracy”.The New York Times.
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  63. Jump up^ Hancock, Jason (2010-01-21). “Boswell pushes constitutional amendment to overturn SCOTUS ruling”. The Iowa Independent. Retrieved 2010-01-26.
  64. Jump up^ Crabtree, Susan (2010-02-02). “Sen. Kerry backs changing Constitution to deal with Supreme Court decision”The Hill. Capitol Hill Publishing Corp. Retrieved 2010-02-06.
  65. Jump up^ Remsen, Nancy (December 8, 2011). “Sen. Bernie Sanders, I–Vt., offers constitutional amendment on corporate “citizenship””The Burlington Free Press.
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  74. Jump up^ Tribe, Laurence (2010-01-24). “What Should Congress Do About Citizens United? An analysis of the ruling and a possible legislative response”SCOTUSblog.
  75. Jump up^ Liptak, Adam (2010-01-26). “O’Connor Mildly Criticizes Court’s Campaign Finance Decision”The Caucus Blog (New York Times Company).
  76. Jump up^ Hasen, Richard L. (January 21, 2010). “Money Grubbers: The Supreme Court kills campaign finance reform”.
  77. Jump up^ Sullivan, Kathleen (2010). “Two Concepts of Freedom of Speech”.Harvard Law Review 124: 143–177.
  78. Jump up^ Andre, Steven J. (2010). “The Transformation of Freedom of Speech: Unsnarling the Twisted Roots of Citizens United v. FEC”.John Marshall Law Review 44 (1): 69–127.
  79. Jump up^ Wayne Batchis, Citizens United and the Paradox of “Corporate Speech”: From Freedom of Association to Freedom of The Association, 36 NYU Rev. L. & Soc. Change 5 (2012).
  80. Jump up^ Kirkpatrick, David D. (2010-01-22). “Lobbyists Get Potent Weapon in Campaign Financing”New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-27.
  81. Jump up to:a b Alter, Jonathan (2010-02-01). “High Court Hypocrisy: Dick Durbin’s got a good idea”Newsweek (Newsweek, Inc.). Retrieved 2010-01-27.
  82. Jump up^ “A Bad Day for Democracy”The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2010-01-22.
  83. Jump up^ Wert, Justin J.; Ronald Keith Gaddie; Charles S. Bullock (2011).“Of Benedick and Beatrice: Citizens United and the Reign of the Laggard Court”Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy 20: 720. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
  84. Jump up^ Washington Post-ABC News poll of February 4–8, 2010.
  85. Jump up^ Gary Langer, In Supreme Court Ruling on Campaign Finance, the Public DissentsABC News, February 17, 2010.
  86. Jump up^ Dan Eggan, Poll: Large majority opposes Supreme Court’s decision on campaign financingThe Washington Post, February 17, 2010.
  87. Jump up^ Lydia Saad, Public Agrees With Court: Campaign Money Is “Free Speech” but have mixed views on other issues at heart of new Supreme Court ruling, Gallup, January 22, 2010
  88. Jump up^ Jordan Fabian, Poll: Public agrees with principles of campaign finance decisionThe Hill, January 23, 2010.
  89. Jump up^
  90. Jump up^
  91. Jump up to:a b c d “ v. FEC Case Summary”Federal Election Commission. Federal Election Commission. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  92. Jump up^ Liptak, Adam (March 26, 2011). “Courts Take On Campaign Finance Decision”The New York Times. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  93. Jump up^ Mears, Bill (June 27, 2011). “Justices strike down taxpayer-supported campaign spending law”. CNN. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  94. Jump up to:a b Vicini, James (June 27, 2011). “Supreme Court strikes down Arizona campaign finance law”. Reuters. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  95. Jump up^ Liptak, Adam (June 27, 2011). “Justices Strike Down Arizona Campaign Finance Law”The New York Times. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  96. Jump up^ Jess Bravin and Brent Kendall (28 June 2012). “Campaign Funding Measure in Arizona Overturned”The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  97. Jump up^ Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, and Breyer (February 17, 2012). “Stay Order in Pending Case”Supreme Court of the United States. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
  98. Jump up^ Per Curiam (June 25, 2012). American Tradition Partnership v. BullockSupreme Court of the United States. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
  99. Jump up^ Liptak, Adam (June 25, 2012). “Court Declines to Revisit Its Citizens United Decision”The New York Times. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
  100. Jump up^ “Supreme Court Again Smacks Down Campaign-Finance Reformers”The Atlantic. June 25, 2012. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
  101. Jump up^ Urbina, Ian (2010-01-22). “24 States’ Laws Open to Attack After Campaign Finance Ruling”New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-23.
  102. Jump up^ Kirkpatrick, David D. (February 11, 2010). “Democrats Try to Rebuild Campaign-Spending Barriers”The New York Times. p. A19. Retrieved February 14, 2010. “Congressional Democrats outlined legislation Thursday aimed at undoing a recent Supreme Court decision that allows corporations and interest groups to spend freely on political advertising.”
  103. Jump up^ Eggen, Dan (April 29, 2010). “Top Democrats Seek Broad Disclosure on Campaign Financing,”The Washington Post.
  104. Jump up^
  105. Jump up^ “Who’s exempted from ‘fix’ for Supreme Court campaign finance ruling?”The Christian Science Monitor. June 25, 2010.
  106. Jump up^ Eggen, Dan (July 28, 2010). “Bill on political ad disclosures falls a little short in Senate”. The Washington Post.
  107. Jump up^ Memoli, Michael A. (September 24, 2010). “Disclose Act fails to advance in Senate”Los Angeles Times.
  108. Jump up^ Ocean Beach Rag. July 6, 2011.
  109. Jump up^ Movement to Abolish Corporate Personhood Gaining Traction.Boulder Weekly July 14, 2011.
  110. Jump up^ Move to Amend website
  111. Jump up to:a b Weiner, Rachel (29 August 2012). “Obama suggests constitutional amendment in Reddit chat”The Washington Post. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  112. Jump up^ Blumenthal, Paul (October 18, 2012). “Citizens United Constitutional Amendment: New Jersey Legislature Seeks Reversal Of Ruling”Huffington Post.
  113. Jump up^ McCarter,Joan, “Oregon becomes 16th state to call for amendment overturning Citizens United”, Daily KOS, July 2, 2013
  114. Jump up^ “Calif. lawmakers vote to overturn Citizens United”CBS News. March 23, 2012. Archived from the original on March 31, 2012. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  115. Jump up^ Wing, Nicholas (July 4, 2013). “16th State Joins Calls For Amendment To Overturn Citizens United”Huffington Post.
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  117. Jump up^ Richard L. Hasen (October 25, 2012). “Super-Soft Money: How Justice Kennedy paved the way for “SuperPACS” and the return of soft money.”Slate (magazine). Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  118. Jump up^ Cordes, Nancy (June 30, 2011). “Colbert gets a Super PAC; So what are they?”. CBS News. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  119. Jump up^
  120. Jump up^ Berman, Ari (February 16, 2012). “The .000063% Election”The Huffington Post. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  121. Jump up^ Colbert Super PAC | Making a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow |
  122. Jump up^
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