Supreme Court to Return to Campaign Finance; Citizens United Redux?
The Nine announced yesterday that the highest court in the land will hear the above case this coming October; one that resurrects the campaign finance subject chopped and screwed by Citizens United in 2010. (For a quick summary, the Citizens United decision was the one that let all of this happen).
In its most recent reincarnation, Shaun McCutcheon, a GOP moneyman from Alabama, is suing the Federal Elections Commission for its restrictions on biennial donations. Those pertain to the overall amount of money an individual can spend on campaigns over two years, without the help of a SuperPAC or Karl Rove. Yes, there are still big time spenders that like to honestly play by the half-ass rules.
Ever since Watergate, the federal government has limited these amounts to the following: $2,600 to a candidate, $32,400 to a party's national committee, $10,000 to below-federal committees and $5,000 to any other committee. And that's just for one year; multiply those totals by two for biennial contributions (adjusting for loophole reasons, of course) and the limit is around $123,600. This total will be the limit that the case will try to upend.
So what's the chance that the Supreme Court will toss the Watergate-era limits into the trash? Well, just read the Justice Anthony Kennedy's opinion in Citizens United on what defines "free speech" in our political campaigns these days.