Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


In the past, if a business owner wanted to take out a political ad, he had to pay for it himself. Now, in the post-Citizens United world, he can have his company take it out instead, and that’s exactly what the president of a small company in Texas did recently. Matt Yglesias comments:

If nothing else, this suggests that Citizens United is going to be a significant tax break for politically active smallish business owners. If you used to be a guy who shelled out $10,000 a year on political contributions, then you used to need to pay yourself substantially more than that in nominal salary, then pay taxes on the money, and then hand out the ten grand. Now if you own the business, you can have the company pay and then instead of it being income on which you pay tax, it becomes an expense for the business.

Yeah, it’s nice to be able to use pre-tax dollars for this kind of thing, isn’t it? I’m still a notable squish on the whole subject of Citizens United, but we’re now pretty clearly dealing with an unlevel playing field. Corporations aren’t just being treated like people, they’re being treated better than people.

UPDATE: Apparently this isn’t right. In fact, political expenditures by corporations are required to come out of after-tax dollars. This might still provide a tax advantage depending on what tax rates apply, but it’s not as black-and-white as Matt or I suggest.

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

Straight to the point: Donations have been concerningly slow for our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, over the next few weeks so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

Straight to the point: Donations have been concerningly slow for our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, over the next few weeks so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate