Alabama businessman Shaun McCutcheon says he doesn’t want to give gobs of money to a single politician. Instead, he hopes to spread smaller contributions to as many candidates as possible. If he has his way in a case headed to the Supreme Court on Tuesday, however, a single donor could contribute more than $3 million to a political party, its state and federal chapters and all of its federal candidates to shape next year’s midterm elections for Congress, campaign-finance watchdogs warn. His case, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is the latest round in the bitter national battle over the role of money in American politics and the biggest challenge to campaign-finance rules since the court’s bombshell 2010 Citizens United decision ended restrictions on independent political spending by corporations and unions. The new legal fight targets a cornerstone of election rules: the ability of the government to regulate the amount of money individuals can give to presidential and congressional candidates and political parties.
McCutcheon, a Republican activist from just outside Birmingham, wants the court to toss out the portion of federal law that bars an individual from donating more than $123,200 to candidates, political parties and PACs during the current, two-year election cycle. The cumulative cap on donations, he argues, limits his First Amendment right to participate in as many federal races as he wants.
He is not challenging the base limits that prevent him from donating more than $2,600 directly to a federal candidate. “But why should it matter if I’m involved in 17, 18 or 33 races,” he told USA TODAY in a recent interview.
The aggregate cap “limits your right to free speech and assembly.”
Full Article: Supreme Court weighs limits on campaign donations.