Citizens united and individual sovereignty: A fresh perspective

Uriel Procaccia, Eyal Winter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years super-PACs jumped into the political fray by making significant donations to political parties and candidates thus tilting political outcomes to suit their agendas. Super-PACs raise their money from individuals and corporations and spend it to promote their cause. Numerous commentators studied their impact on the American political landscape and highlighted its implications from a constitutionally driven perspective, anchored in the Free Speech clause of the First Amendment as it applies to corporate persons. In this Essay we analyze the phenomenon from a different vantage point, the prohibition to spend other people's money in support of a cause which they refuse to endorse. We prove that although contributions made by private donors to super-PACs may sometimes be justified, no such redeeming grace is tenable in the case of contributions made by large public corporations. The distortion is caused by inviting corporations to identify their presumed political preferences by employing the decision rule current in corporate matters of “one share one vote” which allocates disproportionate power to the holders of large blocks of shares. Since political controversies ought to be governed by a different decision rule- “one person one vote” the distortion cannot be remedied through the intermediation of corporate players.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number106099
JournalInternational Review of Law and Economics
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Inc.


  • Corporations
  • Election finance
  • Social choice
  • Voting procedures


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