Committees in the House and Senate of the Tennessee approved bills that would lift the ban on direct corporate contributions to state-level candidates on Tuesday. According to the Knoxville News Sentinel:
Direct corporate donations to political candidates will be legalized in Tennessee and the amount that can be given by all contributors will be raised by about 40 percent under legislation approved by House and Senate committees Tuesday.For political action committees, for example, the maximum donation will increase from $7,500 to $10,700 and adjusted upward for inflation in future years. Corporations will be treated as if they were PACs under the bill, SB1915.This has long been predicted by many legal scholars as the next logical step if you follow the Citizens United ruling to its conclusion.
Woodson said the move is a logical response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year that struck down a federal law barring corporations from making independent expenditures in political campaigns. The Tennessee Legislature last year approved a law allowing independent expenditures in state campaigns.
The new bill goes beyond that to authorize corporations to directly give money to candidates and political parties for the first time in Tennessee, which has had a longstanding ban on direct corporate contributions.