Surely, the Supreme Court would hold it unconstitutional for Congress to pass a law prohibiting foreign citizens from getting up on a soapbox in Central Park and stating that they prefer one candidate or another in an American election. On what basis, then, can Congress bar foreign corporations from buying unlimited campaign advertisements advocating their preferred candidates in American elections? Ah, one might object, but buying campaign advertising is not the same as engaging in speech. And corporations are not the same as individuals. These are precisely the two principles that Messrs Kennedy, Roberts, Scalia, Alito, and Thomas rejected in Citizens United.
For me this brings back two things I thought were obvious until the Citizens United decision. 1) Buying advertising is not identical to practicing free speech and 2) Corporations (and unions) are not individuals. Of course, as Ben pointed out yesterday, the real kicker of the Citizens United decision was the removal of reporting requirements. We are now left with less data about the additional money being spent and where that money is coming from.
I wonder how the most vociferous defenders of the decision would feel if Saudi royals influenced city council elections in Dearborn, Michigan in the hopes of founding a Wahabi grade school? My gut says they would be non-plussed at the notion.