Republican officials and their allies, reviewing Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance, say they now have ammunition for additional challenges to restrictions on political contributions and may press to strike down all limits on donations to candidates and political parties. Motivated by the ruling in their favor, GOP lawyers and conservative advocates are discussing whether to bring lawsuits that would seek to permit companies and labor unions to donate directly to candidates for Congress and the White House; allow the Republican and Democratic parties to accept unlimited donations; and raise the current $10,000 cap on yearly donations to state political parties. “The political parties are going to take a hard look at some of the more extreme provisions of [the campaign-finance rules] to see if those provisions can withstand review” by the court, said Bobby Burchfield, a longtime GOP campaign-finance lawyer.
The court on Wednesdaystruck down a longstanding $123,200 cap on what any individual can give in aggregate to federal candidates and political committees over a two-year period. The ruling didn’t address limits on donations to candidates and political parties, and those caps remain intact. The Republican National Committee and Alabama businessman Shaun McCutcheon brought the lawsuit that yielded the court ruling.
The Democratic Party and its supporters are not likely to be involved in future court challenges. While many Democratic campaign strategists want the Democratic National Committee to have the ability to raise as much money as possible, Democratic lawmakers generally favor policies that limit the amount of money in campaigns.