United States v. CIO
335 U.S. 106 (1948)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. CIO, 335 U.S. 106 (1948)

United States v. Congress of Industrial Organizations

No. 695

Argued April 28-29, 1948

Decided June 21, 1948

335 U.S. 106

Syllabus

A labor organization and its president were indicted for violations of § 313 of the Corrupt Practices Act of 1925, as amended by § 304 of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, which prohibits contributions or expenditures by corporations and labor organizations in connection with federal elections. The indictment charged that the labor organization made, and its president consented to, expenditures for the publication of a weekly periodical, in a certain issue of which appeared an article by its president urging members to vote for a particular candidate in a forthcoming congressional election, and that it made expenditures for the publication and distribution of extra copies of that issue in connection with the election, but it did not charge that free copies were distributed to nonsubscribers, nonpurchasers, or persons not entitled to receive copies as members of the union. The District Court sustained a motion to dismiss on the ground that the Act, so far as it related to expenditures by labor organizations in connection with federal elections, violated the First Amendment of the Federal Constitution. The Government appealed directly to this Court under the Criminal Appeals Act.

Held:

1. The indictment does not state an offense under § 313 of the Act. Pp. 335 U. S. 107-110, 335 U. S. 120-124.

2. The interpretation here placed on § 313 is supported by the history, the language, and the purpose of the section, and by the fact that grave doubt as to its constitutionality would arise were it construed as applicable to the acts charged in the indictment. Pp. 335 U. S. 113-122.

3. On review under the Criminal Appeals Act, this Court is not required to pass upon the constitutionality of § 313 when the indictment does not state an offense under it. P. 335 U. S. 110.

77 F.Supp. 355, affirmed.

Respondents, a labor organization and an officer thereof, were indicted for violations of § 313 of the Corrupt Practices Act, as amended by § 304 of the Labor Management

Page 335 U. S. 107

Relations Act of 1947. The District Court dismissed the indictment on the ground of unconstitutionality of the challenged provision of the Act. 77 F.Supp. 355. The Government appealed directly to this Court under the Criminal Appeals Act. Affirmed on another ground, p. 335 U. S. 124.

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