The Supreme Court corrected some decades old wrongs today. It restored free speech rights, by ruling aggregate limits on campaign contributions illegal, both for candidates, and political parties.
The justices ruled 5-4, in a decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts, that limits on the total amount of money donors can give to all candidates, committees and political parties are unconstitutional. The decision frees the nation’s wealthiest donors to have greater influence in federal elections.
The decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission marks the latest round in the bitter national debate over the role of money in American politics. It’s the most important campaign-finance ruling since the high court’s 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts independently to influence elections.
The case pitted the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech – which the justices previously have equated with spending money in elections – against the government’s interest in preventing political corruption.
Massachusetts quickly allowed corporations to spend money on political campaigns as a result of Citizens United. They can be expected to stop enforcing Massachusetts unconstitutional $12,500 aggregate limit on contributions to candidates and $5000 aggregate limit to local and state political parties.
This means for instance that someone should be able to give the maximum donation to more than 25 candidates, and give $5000 to as many party committees as possible, which can coordinate with candidates in an unlimited fashion…
Here comes the return of soft money. And it is a great thing for democracy in Massachusetts where unions have an unfair advantage.