Supreme Court To Decide on Campaign Finance Limits

Search form

Supreme Court To Decide on Campaign Finance Limits

Supreme Court To Decide on Campaign Finance Limits
Wed, 10/9/2013 - by Michael Beckel
This article originally appeared on Center for Public Integrity

Shaun McCutcheon, the lead plaintiff in a high-profile campaign finance challenge the U.S. Supreme Court will soon consider, made an excessive contribution to the Alabama Republican Party’s federal political committee last year, records show.

McCutcheon, a general contractor by trade, donated $1,000 to the Alabama Republican Party on Nov. 12, 2012, according to a Center for Public Integrity review of campaign finance records maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics. He had already contributed the legal maximum of $10,000 to the party’s federal account earlier in 2012.

McCutcheon is an outspoken critic of existing federal law that limits the overall dollar amount that any one person may collectively donate to federal candidates, parties and political action committees.

This aggregate contribution limit, which is indexed to inflation, is currently set at $123,200. The Supreme Court's McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission case — oral arguments were scheduled for Tuesday — will determine whether that limit is lifted or changed.

“Shaun had sponsored an event that he thought was a state-account event,” Dan Backer, McCutcheon’s lawyer, told the Center for Public Integrity in an email about his client's excessive contribution.

“Turns out it was deposited in the federal account,” Backer continued. “We’ll be contacting the AL GOP to advise them to redesignate or refund.”

Mallory Jackson, the Alabama Republican Party’s treasurer, told the Center for Public Integrity that “there is software in place to avoid this situation, but it does not catch everything."

Under Alabama law, individuals are allowed to donate unlimited amounts to state political parties for their state-focused accounts. Federal law, however, caps individuals’ contributions to state parties’ federal committees at $10,000 per year.

Records filed with the FEC show that McCutcheon donated $26,000 to the Alabama Republican Party’s federal committee in January 2012 and another $250 four months later. His excessive $16,250 in contributions were swiftly refunded and then re-gifted to the party’s state account, state and federal campaign finance records indicate.

According to the Center for Public Integrity’s analysis, McCutcheon donated about $66,000 to federal candidates, parties and PACs during the 2011-2012 election cycle.

That includes about $35,000 split between 15 federal candidates, including contributions to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Republican U.S. Senate candidates Josh Mandel of Ohio and Richard Mourdock of Indiana.

McCutcheon also gave more than $300,000 to two conservative super PACs with which he was personally involved.

There are no limits on the size of contributions people may make to super PACs, which arose after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC ruling and a lower court decision called SpeechNow.org v. FEC. Both cases were decided in 2010.

Originally published by Center for Public Integrity

Article Tabs

Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, community bill of rights, Mothers Against Drilling in Our Neighborhoods

Across the country, battles are raging as communities attempt to protect the air, soil and water within their borders and the safety of their residents.

prison divestment campaign, criminal justice reform, Columbia Prison Divest, Corrections Corporation of America, GEO Group, Dream Defenders, incarceration rates, Student Alliance for Prison Reform

Columbia Prison Divest pressured the university to dump $8 million in Corrections Corporation of America, the country’s largest private prison company, as well as shares in other behemoths of the private security industry.

Barnesville, Gulfport Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, Antero

A tiny town in eastern Ohio is being sued by an Oklahoma-based oil and gas company that bought more than 180 million gallons of water from the town last year.

History shows that liberals need radicals.

American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC, BP, climate change denial

Oil company BP said on Monday it has stopped supporting conservative political group ALEC, becoming the latest corporation to end its membership in a group critics say works to deny the existence of climate change.

Until the federal government gets serious about bailing out America’s students and instituting free, public higher education for all who apply, America’s student debtors should refuse to make any further payments.

Posted 3 days 15 hours ago
fracking studies, anti-fracking movement, fracking ban, Real Media, Debt Resistance UK, Anti-Daily Mail week, WailOnline, Blockupy, Occupy Rupert Murdoch

Imagine a world where the 1% doesn't have a monopoly over science and news – but where we can instead think for ourselves.

Posted 4 days 12 hours ago

A report that Rahm Emanuel’s administration invested money from the city teachers’ union in private equity funds run by some of the mayor’s biggest campaign donors is adding fuel to the charges that he neglects all but his wealthy backers.

Posted 3 days 14 hours ago
healthcare privatization, National Health Service, Cancer Not for Profit, 38 Degrees

Last week saw the biggest leak in the history of the U.K. National Health Service, with the publication of a document that revealed clinical commissioning groups were looking for a private company to accept a £1.2 billion contract for cancer care.

Posted 2 days 14 hours ago

History shows that liberals need radicals.

American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC, BP, climate change denial

Oil company BP said on Monday it has stopped supporting conservative political group ALEC, becoming the latest corporation to end its membership in a group critics say works to deny the existence of climate change.

fracking studies, anti-fracking movement, fracking ban, Real Media, Debt Resistance UK, Anti-Daily Mail week, WailOnline, Blockupy, Occupy Rupert Murdoch

Imagine a world where the 1% doesn't have a monopoly over science and news – but where we can instead think for ourselves.

Ferguson protests, Michael Brown, Eric Holder, income inequality

The Justice Department report on Ferguson demonstrates how economic hardship and racial tension feed off each other.

Three men have accused police of a "common plan to falsely arrest, illegally detain, and physically abuse" them – and are suing the city of Chicago over their black site-style detention at Homan Square.

Sign Up