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Supreme Court Strikes Down Aggregate Campaign Contribution Limits

Today in a 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court struck down a provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, more commonly referred to as McCain-Feingold, saying that limiting the amount of money individuals may contribute in a given election cycle was unconstitutional. Previously under the law, an individual was limited to contributing $123,200 to PACs, Political Parties, and federal candidates for the 2013-2014 election cycle. This cap included a $48,600 cap on contributions for individual candidates for federal office.

Writing for the majority opinion, Chief Justice Roberts wrote:

Significant First Amendment interests are implicated here. Contributing money to a candidate is an exercise of an individual's right to participate in the electoral process through both political expression and political association. A restriction on how many candidates and committees an individual may support is hardly a 'modest restraint' on those rights. The Government may no more restrict how many candidates or causes a donor may support than it may tell a newspaper how many candidates it may endorse.

This is the second time a prevision of McCain-Feingold has been overturned by the Supreme Court. And this case didn't address contribution limits to individual candidates and Political Action Committees, which seems like the next logical challenge. Or Congress could save everyone a lot of time and simply repeal McCain-Feingold.


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