- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Supreme Court to hear GOP challenge to campaign finance limits
In a new test of campaign donors’ free-speech rights, the Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it will consider a case challenging the limit on how much individuals are allowed to donate to federal candidates and political parties.
The high court agreed to hear a case brought by Alabama businessman Shaun McCutcheon and the Republican National Committee, who seek to do away with the $123,200 aggregate limit that an individual can donate directly in a two-year election cycle to all federal candidates, parties and political action committees. They argue that the limit violates a donor’s right to free speech under the First Amendment and hurts a candidate’s ability to compete in a new era of unrestricted campaign spending by independent groups.
Although the case involves the relatively narrow question of the two-year limit on donations, some legal analysts said the court’s ruling next year could have broader implications by re-examining the standard it set in the Buckley case in 1976. At the time, the justices said government could impose limits on the “speech” of campaign donations.
“If that rule goes away, that could arguably open the door to do away with contribution limits, as well as the corporate contribution ban and everything else,” said Stefan Passantino, a campaign law specialist at McKenna, Long & Aldridge in Washington. “There’s the potential here for the court to open up contribution limits wholesale.”
The case will be considered in the court’s next term, which begins in October.
The move comes three years after the court’s Citizens United decision — sharply criticized by President Obama at the time — ended the restrictions on corporate and union donations to independent, third-party groups who want to influence congressional or presidential elections.
Under current law, individuals may give no more than $123,200 for each two-year election cycle directly to candidates or parties. That includes a $2,500 limit for a candidate running for federal office, and $30,800 per year to the national parties’ political committees.
Last year, a three-judge federal appeals court in Washington upheld the limits on the grounds that the Supreme Court has consistently said that contributions to candidates can be restricted.
Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer said the new case has “enormous consequences for the country.”
“If the Supreme Court reverses its past ruling in Buckley, the court would do extraordinary damage to the nation’s ability to prevent the corruption of federal officeholders and government decisions,” Mr. Wertheimer said. “It would also represent the first time in history that the court declared a federal contribution limit unconstitutional.”
Advocates of stricter campaign-finance regulations were disappointed that President Obama didn’t mention the subject last week in his State of the Union address. Before he was elected president, Mr. Obama supported tighter regulations on campaign donations, and he chastised the justices to their faces in his 2010 State of the Union speech over the Citizens United ruling.
Since then, the president has not made a push for any new campaign finance law. Instead, last week he created a commission to investigate voting rights issues such as long lines at the polls on Election Day.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Dave Boyer is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times. A native of Allentown, Pa., Boyer worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 2002 to 2011 and also has covered Congress for the Times. He is a graduate of Penn State University. Boyer can be reached at email@example.com.
- Obamas, Bidens jetting off to warm resorts for mini-vacations
- Obama, first lady to promote access to student loans
- CPAC 2014: McConnell works to reassure conservatives
- R-S-P-E-C-T: Find out what it means for Obama
- Obama urges Putin in phone call: De-escalate crisis in Ukraine
Latest Blog Entries
- Obama and Boehner congratulate U.S. men's hockey on win over Russia
- Americans say income gap will shrink if government butts out, poll shows
- WH spokesman Jay Carney recognizes beard's 'insufficiency,' shaves it off
- Obama misses deadline again on budget
- Biden burns rubber in driveway, laments road restrictions
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- CPAC 2014: Rand Paul urges conservatives to fight for liberty
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Soldier who hid to avoid saluting the flag to be punished in secret; Army won't release details
- EDITORIAL: Connecticut revolts against gun controls that could criminalize 300,000
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- High schooler suing parents for money shot down by judge
- MILLER: Donald Trump says hes a Tea Party member
- Couple from Ethiopia begin new life in Dubuque
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again