(CNN) – Does last week's Supreme Court decision striking down limits on corporate campaign spending allow overseas companies to finance U.S. political campaigns?
That's what President Barack Obama is asserting in Wednesday night's State of the Union address, which included his latest critique of the 5-4 ruling.
"Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests - including foreign companies - to spend without limit in our elections," Obama said. "Well, I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, and worse, by foreign entities."
CNN Fact Check found that the court's majority appeared to sidestep the issue. Obama's declaration puts him on the side of the minority in last week's ruling and lays down a clear marker in a debate that is likely to go on for some time.
Bradley Smith, a former Federal Election Commission chairman who supports rolling back campaign finance law, has argued that laws already on the books that prevent non-U.S. citizens from giving to U.S. campaigns already cover overseas corporations.
But Nathaniel Persily, a professor of law and political science at Columbia University said the decision doesn't make any distinction between U.S.-chartered and overseas corporations, effectively opening the door to money from overseas.
"The court decision itself liberated all corporations that were prevented from running ads in elections," Persily said. "So foreign corporations were prohibited beforehand, and just like all other corporations, they were liberated by this decision."
But the ruling also leaves the door open for Congress to set new restrictions.
"The question is, how much foreign ownership does a corporation have to have before you can limit its expenditures?" Persily told CNN. After last week's decision, "It's up to Congress to delineate which corporations might be owned by foreign interests to a sufficient amount that they can be regulated."