Update 2: The Supreme Court sides with freedom, striking down the overall limit. You can read the opinion here.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the biennial contribution limits case McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission on Tuesday, October 8th.
The suit challenges the limits governing how much an individual may contribute in total to all party committees, PACs, and candidates in a two-year election cycle. For the 2014 election cycle, individuals are limited to contributing an overall amount of $74,600 to party committees and PACs, and $48,600 to federal candidates.
These restrictions exist in addition to contribution limits for individual candidates, PACs, and parties. When these two limits are combined, the overall number of candidates that donors can give the maximum allowable individual contributions to is 18.
The plaintiff, Shaun McCutcheon, believes that if contributing the maximum amount to 18 candidates is not corrupting, what is so different about contributing the maximum amount to 19 or 20 candidates that Congress is justified in limiting his First Amendment rights? After all, the Supreme Court has already upheld individual contribution limits as an adequate method with which to prevent corruption.
- NRO: Fantasyland at the Supreme Court, By Brad Smith
- Washington Examiner: Freedom of political speech requires courage from Supreme Court justices in McCutcheon campaign finance case, By David Keating
- Bloomberg TV: Supreme Court Takes on FEC Case, What’s at Stake?
- CCP: Thoughts on Yesterday’s Argument in McCutcheon v. FEC, By Brad Smith
- CCP: Wild hypotheticals and reality, By Eric Wang
- CCP: Three lessons from the McCutcheon argument., By David Keating
On The Case
- Politico: Donation caps hurt democracy, By Shaun McCutcheon
- WSJ: The Next Battle in the Fight for Free Speech, By Bradley A. Smith
- Washington Examiner: Supreme Court should resist Left’s scare tactics in McCutcheon campaign finance case, By Luke Wachob
- Washington Times: Cutting the price tag off free speech, By Eric Wang
- TownHall: Set Campaign Finance Free, By Kathryn Ciano
- The Libertarian Republic: Incumbents Stifle Contributions to Protect Themselves, By Joe Trotter
- Forbes: It’s Time To End Our Failed Affair With Campaign Finance Laws, By Paul Sherman
- National Review: Objecting to the Declaration of Independence?, By Bradley A. Smith
- WSJ: A Supreme Opportunity to Build on Citizens United, By Bradley A. Smith
- USA Today: Lift campaign donations cap, By Eric Wang
- Washington Post: Supreme Court can rescue another freedom in a campaign cash case, By George Will
- NY Times: No Compelling Government Interest in Limits, By Bradley A. Smith
- SCOTUSBlog: Burning the house to roast the pig: Can elections be saved by banning political speech?, By Robert Corn-Revere
- SCOTUSBlog: McCutcheon v. FEC and the fork in the road, By Joel Gora
- CCP: The Meaning of Corruption in Campaign Finance Law, and Buckley’s Contribution/Expenditure Distinction, By Bradley A. Smith
- CCP: What is more valuable to a candidate, an extra .025% of funding, or an endorsement in a major newspaper?, By Luke Wachob
- NY Times: Strike Down All Contribution Limits, By Ilya Shapiro
- Hot Air: The Ed Morrissey Show: Former FEC Commissioner Brad Smith
You can access IFS’s handout on our amicus brief here, our amicus brief here, our handout “Good for Incumbents, Bad for the First Amendment” here, and our handout “The McCutcheon $3.6 Million Straw Man” here.
- The limits restrict constitutionally-protected liberty.
- Putting teeth into standard of review.
- The rationale for the caps is bogus.
- The law threatens freedom of the press.
- It helps incumbents because it cuts funds to challengers.
- The law sets party committees against each other and makes parties less important.
- 37 states have no aggregate limit of any kind. Many that do are among the worst run.
- A limit on people, but not PACs?
- Give the maximum to 18 candidates, but not 19?
- Even if some mechanism is needed to prevent corruption, the aggregate ban is not “narrowly tailored” as required by the Constitution.
- McCutcheon’s case does not challenge the solicitation ban on such large contributions. It is not clear if the ban would fall.
- Boehner and Pelosi can already ask for $4.3 million, but they don’t.
- Committee for Justice
- American Civil Rights Union
- Cause of Action Institute
- Institute for Justice
- Cato Institute
- Downsize DC Foundation
- Tea Party Leadership Fund
- Senator Mitch McConnell
- National Republican Senate Committee
- Thomas Jefferson Center For The Protection of Free Expression and the Media Institute
- The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty