Unenforceable: States Respond to McCutcheon and Support the First Amendment

Unenforceable:  States Respond to McCutcheon and Support the First Amendment By Matt Nese On April 2, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, which invalidated the federal aggregate limit on contributions by individuals to candidate campaigns and political committees as unconstitutional under the First Amendment.[1] This brief examines the […]

Filed Under: 1. McCutcheon, Arguments, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits Handouts, Contribution Limits State, Contributions & Limits, External Relations Sub-Pages, Handouts (Contribution Limits), Research, aggregate limits, Center for Competitive Politics, District of Columbia, Matt Nese, McCutcheon v FEC, Proportional Bans, Proportional Limits, Shaun McCutcheon, Contribution Limits, Contributions & Limits, Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Wyoming

The limits restrict constitutionally-protected liberty.

The Cato Institute writes: “…restricting the liberty to engage in election campaigns because such engagement somehow injures the political system is fundamentally contrary to the constitutional structure of rights and powers. As James Madison said, “it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than […]

Filed Under: 1. McCutcheon, Arguments

Putting teeth into standard of review.

CCP’s brief suggests that courts mistakenly grant excessive deference to Congress, whose members have a vested self-interest in restricting speech about their performance in office and have “often shown considerable ignorance of the nation’s campaign finance laws.”  The brief quips that “Some members of Congress may be conniving, and others ignorant.”  From the brief: Such […]

Filed Under: 1. McCutcheon, Arguments

The rationale for the caps is bogus.

Supporters of the aggregate caps argue that without them, individuals would avoid the $2,600 limit on giving to a particular race by giving to many candidates and party committees, which would then pass the money on to the intended candidate. This claim is unsupported by law, experience and common sense. First, the law: any contribution […]

Filed Under: 1. McCutcheon, Arguments

The law threatens freedom of the press.

Individuals are capped at giving maximum support to 18 campaigns. Congress has yet to pass a law placing newspapers or the media under a similar limit. They can give an editorial endorsement – certainly worth much more than $2,600 – to as many candidates as they want. There is nothing special about being a newspaper […]

Filed Under: 1. McCutcheon, Arguments

It helps incumbents because it cuts funds to challengers.

The real reason for the aggregate limit is probably pretty simple. It helps the incumbents who wrote the law. Think about it for a minute. As of September 25, 2013, the Cook Political Report rated 84 House and Senate races as competitive. This means a citizen, who, for example, wants to help every Republican or […]

Filed Under: 1. McCutcheon, Arguments

The law sets party committees against each other and makes parties less important.

The law only allows an individual to contribute $32,400 to a national political party committee and $5,000 to a PAC, but also imposes a biennial sublimit of $74,600 on all such contributions. So an individual can give the maximum legal contribution to the Democratic National Committee, and to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, but if […]

Filed Under: 1. McCutcheon, Arguments

37 states have no aggregate limit of any kind. Many that do are among the worst run.

States are the laboratories of our democracy, and they are doing just fine without aggregate limits. In fact, there is no evidence that the thirteen states with aggregate limits benefit in any way. The Pew Center on the States and Governing Magazine graded all 50 states for the quality of their management (information, people, money […]

Filed Under: 1. McCutcheon, Arguments

A limit on people, but not PACs?

Those who favor limiting First Amendment rights often denounce PACs, which they call tools of special interests. If the aggregate limit is so important, why does it only apply to people and not to PACs? PACs can give to as many candidates as they want, and they can give a lot more to each candidate, […]

Filed Under: 1. McCutcheon, Arguments

Give the maximum to 18 candidates, but not 19?

Federal law limits citizens to contributing no more than $2,600 to any one candidate’s campaign. With the aggregate $48,600 limit on candidate contributions, that means individual contributors would only be able to support 18 candidates to the legal maximum. Once contributors reach the limit on candidate contributions, the law bans them from giving a penny […]

Filed Under: 1. McCutcheon, Arguments

The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.