By Leah Pickett | 2 comments
photo via Reuters
How much worse?
On Oct. 8, the Supreme Court is poised to take up a case that we all need to pay attention too. In McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the Court will rule on whether aggregate contribution limits are constitutional.
The media buzz surrounding the case is minimal, but don’t be fooled: this attack on key campaign finance regulation could hugely increase the power of big money to decide elections. McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission is yet another attempt from the GOP to drown out the voices of average Americans and unfairly tilt the scales— it’s Citizens United 2.0.
Again?! Who’s the culprit?
Plaintiff Shaun McCutcheon built his fortune as CEO of Coalmont, an engineering firm specializing in coal mining; eliminating net giving limits would allow McCutcheon to drown out average Americans while supporting the dirty energy agenda. And because the Republican National Committee so wants donors like McCutcheon to enjoy unfettered donation privileges, it has joined McCutcheon as an appellant on the case.
And they think this is fair?
In Citizens United, the Supreme Court eroded our first line of defense against big money by allowing unlimited donations to groups with political agendas as long as they don’t coordinate with candidates. Now McCutcheon, the RNC and their legal team want to eliminate our last line of defense — contributions directly to candidates and committees. A ruling against aggregate contribution limits would lay the groundwork for the elimination of candidate contribution limits, which would effectively eliminate the average American from the conversation.
Why we should pay close attention to this
McCutcheon’s lawyers have won before; lead counsel Jim Bopp was a driving force behind Citizens United. And we’ve already seen what Citizens United has done. One study revealed that the ruling had an immediate effect on funding in the 2012 election; of the $465 million spent on the presidential election by September, $365 million could be attributed to the Supreme Court’s ruling. Money in politics is already hard enough to fight without additional regulatory rollbacks.
A ruling against the FEC would further drown out the little guy — it’s difficult for politicians to focus on middle class voters when the rich can donate $93 million to a campaign. This case is less about McCutcheon’s gains than about the average American’s losses; money speaks volumes in politics, and it is profoundly unfair to allow the most affluent among us to exert virtually unlimited influence on our nation’s policymakers. We believe that everyone deserves an equal voice, even if they can’t donate to a campaign. After all, there’s a reason we’re not called Plutocracy for America.
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