Donors can now spread money around to more candidates, and no longer have a ready-made excuse (“sorry, I’ve maxed out to my aggregate limit”) for the next candidate-fundraising call. But the most any given donor can give to any given candidate or party committee is still capped. In 2014, the max donation is $5,200 per candidate and and $32,400 to a party committee. That figure is adjusted each election cycle based on inflation. – Kenneth P. Vogel [Politico]
YOUR AVERAGE American won’t miss a beat over the Supreme Court ruling today, which widens the opportunity for donors to share their wealth with more candidates of the political party or parties of their choice. On the whole, people think our national politics is corrupt and skewed toward the well-connected and rich anyway, which it is. After Citizens United, the further freeing of campaign donations through Chief Justice Roberts majority ruling on McCutcheon completes what his court began.
In fact, Citizens United was far worse, in my opinion. Chief Justice Roberts just followed that ruling to its logical extension on McCutcheon.
Lyle Denniston from Scotusblog:
The ruling came in the case of an Alabama businessman, Shaun McCutcheon, who sued (along with the Republican National Committee) because the two-year limits stopped him from giving anything to added candidates or political panels once his donations had reached the ceilings. He said he had no objection to keeping each specific donation within the so-called “base limits.” Curbing the number of candidates he could support, he and the GOP argued, infringed on his right to engage in political expression.
The Court majority agreed. The main opinion summed up: “An aggregate limit on how many candidates and committees an individual may support through contributions is not a modest restraint at all. The government may no more restrict how many candidates or causes a donor may support than it may tell a newspaper how many candidates it may endorse.”
The White House weighed in during the gaggle on Air Force One en route to Michigan. From Josh Earnest, principal deputy press secretary:
We’re still reviewing the details of the ruling that was issued today by the Supreme Court. That said, as noted in those reports, and you may even have seen the arguments, the Solicitor General defended the constitutionality of the Federal Election Commission limits on aggregate campaign contributions. So we are, in fact, disappointed in the decision that was announced today.
I think Justice Breyer summed up the disappointment rather cogently in his argument when he said that taken together with Citizens United, “today’s decision eviscerates our nation’s campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve.”
The system is what it is and there’s no evidence it will ever be otherwise, with the Supreme Court part of the political mix.
Making every aspect of campaign donations transparent is really the only point to press, it seems to me.
If people know who’s bankrolling a party and a candidate that tells them a lot.
Campaign finance advocates are infuriated, Democrats particularly, but it’s not like Barack Obama didn’t work every aspect of the system to cement his advantage. That’s part of working the system, with Democrats as capable as Republicans of doing it.
What it means for people who want a more level playing field in election cycles, including outside candidates, is obvious. But again, the Roberts court through Citizens United sealed that reality first.