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

A new in-depth report has revealed the influence the government-industry revolving door has had on Big Oil's ability to obtain four liquefied natural gas export permits since 2012 from the Obama Administration.

Forces both inside and outside the traditional labor movement united to campaign for a higher minimum wage for hotel workers in Los Angeles.

The Crosscheck purge list swamped GOP Senate margins in Alaska and Georgia, and likely provided the victory margins for GOP gubernatorial victories in Kansas and Massachusetts.

Among other human health and environmental violations, the TPP agreement will facilitate harsh legislation that further restricts free speech, privacy and innovation.

Attending Bilderberg is not a guarantee for holding high office – but it can often support a rapid rise to state power for politicians who impress the members and guests at the annual meetings.

This was the biggest scandal to ever hit the land recordation system in this country, and those who were responsible should be held accountable.

Posted 6 days 34 min ago

The worldwide protest sentiment is not going away anytime soon.

Posted 6 days 26 min ago

Over 300,000 Internet users contributed to our crowdsourced vision for free expression online in the 21st century. What matters most to the Internet community? Watch this animated video to find out.

Posted 6 days 50 min ago

Raleigh resident Bibi Bowman says the fact that a police officer called her and told her to take down a Facebook post is an invasion of her privacy and a thinly-veiled attempt to intimidate her into silence.

Posted 3 days 43 min ago

The Nordic nation of 5.6 million has been at the forefront of wind power innovation since the 1890s, when one of its leading scientists, Poul la Cour, began testing turbines.

Posted 6 days 19 hours ago

With a $150 million World Bank loan, the Ugandan government plans to construct roads to service oil companies, provide scholarships for oil workers and fund an oil institute. But what about helping its own people?

The worldwide protest sentiment is not going away anytime soon.

Instead of loaning students money, the federal government could just pay for the tuition without causing any significant economic problems. There is no fiscal reason why the student debt crisis should exist.

The foreclosure crisis of this century, fueled by racially discriminatory predatory lending, forced hundreds of thousands of residents out of the city.

pipeline protests, Kinder Morgan, tar sands, tar sands pipeline, Burnaby, #BurnabyMountain

Standing on the side of the protesters, Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan vowed to wage war against fossil fuel giant Kinder Morgan.

Sign Up