National: Supreme Court set to consider donor limits | Politico.com
Shaun McCutcheon never thought the case that bears his name would make it this far. But Tuesday, the 46-year-old electrical engineer, conservative activist and donor will watch the Supreme Court hear the case that could erase Watergate-era caps on campaign donations. McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the lawsuit challenging the total amount of money a single donor can give to all federal candidates could have far-reaching implications for the way campaigns and political parties are financed. The court’s 2010 Citizens United decision has entered the vernacular as shorthand for the explosion of money in politics. That case, along with another that allowed the creation of super PACs, led to donors writing multimillion-dollar checks. Because of the way modern campaigns are financed — by candidates partnering with federal, state and local parties — McCutcheon’s lawsuit could have the consequence of allowing politicians to ask a single donor for $1 million a pop, or more. To McCutcheon, the lawsuit is over a fundamental matter of freedom. He argues the government has no right to set overall caps on donations in the first place. To campaign-finance reformers and government watchdogs, it’s a potential nightmare — the latest in a long series of Supreme Court cases that have allowed Big Money to dominate politics.