Another decision on an issue of campaign donations and “free speech” is expected soon from the U.S. Supreme Court. The case could end donation limits from individuals to federal candidates and their parties. The current limit is $123,000, and those working to “get money out of politics” point out that’s roughly twice the family median income across the country.
Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the libertarian Cato Institute favor an end to all restrictions on political donations. Trevor Burrus, research fellow with Cato’s Center for Constitutional Studies explained that group’s stand.
“I do not think the danger of protecting the voice of the little guy is something the federal government, or any government, should be involved in,” he asserted. “It’s not a First Amendment concern that there are people out there who speak louder than other people and have more influence.”
Critics argue that removing all donation limits amounts to selling elected offices to the highest bidder.
The case is McCutcheon vs. the Federal Elections Commission, brought by an Alabama businessman who says his First Amendment rights are violated when he can’t give $2600 donations to as many parties and candidates for federal office as he wants.
However, according to Emma Boorboor, democracy associate at the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a current overall donation limit that tops $100,000 is “plenty” already.
“This is, you know, almost double the median family income, so it’s already quite high,” she stated. “But then, absent this limit, one wealthy donor would be permitted to contribute more than $3.5 million to a single party’s candidates and party committees in one election cycle.”
Boorboor said she hopes the high court rules against McCutcheon. A decision could come this week.