The Catholic University of America

3L Roger Abbott Kicks off 2012-2013 Student Scholars Series
with a Look at Citizens United

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Catholic University third year law student Roger Abbott turned his powers of analysis upon the Supreme Court’s controversial 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission as the leadoff 2013 presenter in the law school’s Student Scholar Series.
Abbott’s paper, “Enhancing Disclosure and Corporate Responsibility Following Citizens United,” was delivered before an audience of faculty members and fellow students on Feb. 20.  
He concentrated his presentation on so-called “dark money,” a regulatory loophole inadvertently created that permits corporations to circumvent the disclosure requirements by using non-profits as conduits for campaign contributions, which are not required by the Federal Election Commission to disclose contributions unless they are specifically earmarked for electioneering purposes.
Divided into three parts, Abbott’s paper first introduced the impact of Citizens United decision. Next, it discussed the benefits of disclosure in promoting transparency and political accountability, suggesting that corporations—unlike individuals and small businesses—have abundant resources to defend their property. The paper concluded by arguing that Congress should promote transparency by requiring nonprofits to create electoral activity accounts, use funds from those accounts alone to finance electioneering activities, and require disclosure of donors who contribute to those accounts. 
“This is a bookmaking exercise,” said Abbott of the latter point. “It doesn’t require any more manpower than a political action committee to carry out.”
John Durkalski, a 2008 alumnus of the Columbus School of Law, served as the respondent, asking Abbott questions and probing for inconsistencies in the arguments the paper made.
The Columbus School of Law Student Scholars Series was instituted by Professor A.G. Harmon in 2009 to recognize notable legal scholarship produced by members of the student body during the academic year and to foster the skills associated with presenting and defending that scholarship in a professional conference-style setting.
Many of the articles presented in the series have gone on to find publication in prestigious law journals around the country.
Upcoming Student Scholar Series presentations include:
March 20
Elyssa Lacson, “Subjected to Torture: Chevron and the Limitations on Judicial Review of Final Executive Orders for International Extradition.”
April 17, 2013
Amy Kokot “Prosecutorial Indiscretion: District Attorneys’ Misuse of Alabama’s Chemical Endangerment Law to Criminalize Pregnant Women’s Substance Abuse”