After the Supreme Court ruled that companies can spend freely on political advertising campaigns, the immediate reaction from some quarters was dire.

Good-government advocates, liberal commentators, even the president warned that a flood of corporate money would overwhelm elections and subvert democracy. But the real impact of the decision is likely to be much less extreme, according to in-house attorneys and election law experts. Few companies are looking for new ways to spend money in these tight times. Plus, many businesses — especially large corporations — are aware of the dangers of appearing excessively partisan.

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