38 CITIZENS UNITED v. FEDERAL ELECTION COMM’N
Opinion of the Court
communication, but that does not mean that those speak-
ers and media are entitled to less First Amendment pro-
tection than those types of speakers and media that pro-
vided the means of communicating political ideas when
the Bill of Rights was adopted.
Austin interferes with the “open marketplace” of ideas
protected by the First Amendment. New York State Bd. of
Elections v. Lopez Torres, 552 U. S. 196, 208 (2008); see
ibid. (ideas “may compete” in this marketplace “without
government interference”); McConnell, supra, at 274
(opinion of THOMAS, J.). It permits the Government to ban
the political speech of millions of associations of citizens.
See Statistics of Income 2 (5.8 million for-profit corpora-
tions filed 2006 tax returns). Most of these are small
corporations without large amounts of wealth. See Supp.
Brief for Chamber of Commerce of the United States of
America as Amicus Curiae 1, 3 (96% of the 3 million busi-
nesses that belong to the U. S. Chamber of Commerce
have fewer than 100 employees); M. Keightley, Congres-
sional Research Service Report for Congress, Business
Organizational Choices: Taxation and Responses to Legis-
lative Changes 10 (2009) (more than 75% of corporations
whose income is taxed under federal law, see 26 U. S. C.
§301, have less than $1 million in receipts per year). This
fact belies the Government’s argument that the statute is
justified on the ground that it prevents the “distorting
effects of immense aggregations of wealth.” Austin, 494
U. S., at 660. It is not even aimed at amassed wealth.
The censorship we now confront is vast in its reach. The
Government has “muffle[d] the voices that best represent
the most significant segments of the economy.” McCon-
nell, supra, at 257–258 (opinion of SCALIA, J.). And “the
electorate [has been] deprived of information, knowledge
and opinion vital to its function.” CIO, 335 U. S., at 144
(Rutledge, J., concurring in result). By suppressing the
speech of manifold corporations, both for-profit and non-