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

The coalition was set to deliver more than 200,000 signatures to the White House, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice, calling for transparency and justice in police killings.

Divestment is less about denying fossil fuel companies the financial resources to operate – it's more about denying them reputation, legitimacy and “social license.”

Americans greatly underestimate the degree of inequality in our country – and if we were given proper media coverage of the endless takeaway of wealth by the super rich, we'd be taking it personally.

Wealthy people are often so isolated from the rest of us, many of them have forgotten how rich they really are.

Two political philosophers, Sheldon Wolin and John Ralson Saul, call for mass movements willing to carry out repeated acts of civil disobedience to disrupt and delegitimize corporate power.

Florida has the highest foreclosure rate in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2014, and also has a "foreclosure king" who is now disbarred for his failure to oversee employees accused of carrying out wrongful foreclosures.

Posted 4 days 16 hours ago

This isn't just a right to revolt, it's a call to revolt, an outright slam against apathy and nonresistance.

Posted 3 days 14 hours ago

"Peoples' movements will either succeed in transforming our economic and political systems to build a new world, or we will burn with the old one."

Posted 4 days 16 hours ago

The city's social justice roots are centuries old – and today Seattle is also home to more than 70 social justice organizations and more than a dozen progressive film festivals.

Posted 2 days 17 hours ago

In times of crisis, the term “protect the women and children” might still come to mind.

Posted 3 days 14 hours ago

Florida has the highest foreclosure rate in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2014, and also has a "foreclosure king" who is now disbarred for his failure to oversee employees accused of carrying out wrongful foreclosures.

This isn't just a right to revolt, it's a call to revolt, an outright slam against apathy and nonresistance.

The California city of Rialto saw an 88% drop in claims of police misconduct within one year of officers wearing cameras.

The new 40-page report published by Oxfam International also said the global fossil fuel sector now receives $1.9 trillion in subsidies each year.

"Peoples' movements will either succeed in transforming our economic and political systems to build a new world, or we will burn with the old one."

Sign Up