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To view this original article, visit Democracy for America's blog.

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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Comment Preferences

  •  Five supremes are evil and we can't do anything (4+ / 0-)

    about them now.

    They worship evil and money and power and hate human beings. America is for evil rich people ONLY now just like when it was created.

    We have to make sure that we elect a Dem POTUS in 2016.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Wed Sep 25, 2013 at 11:11:27 AM PDT

  • is the best place for information (8+ / 0-)

    on all cases before the SCOTUS, including their highly regarding "In Plain English" columns.

    As the diary author has noted this case in NOT about contributions to individual candidates, but rather contributions to organized political groups. I do agree with the diary author that if the plaintiffs win this case it will set the stage for an attack on the contribution limits to individual campaigns.

    The scotusblog information about McCutcheon v FEC can be found here:

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Wed Sep 25, 2013 at 11:38:21 AM PDT

    •  To clarify... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, alwaysquestion, Mannie

      This case is about contributions to individual candidates as well as committees— the distinction is that this case looks at biennial (or net) limits as opposed to caps on donations to any single candidate or organization. As the plaintiff noted in his brief, he wanted to donate $25,000 to three committees and make maximum contributions each to 28 federal candidates, donations that would have violated the $70,800 net limit on committee donations and $46,000 net donation limit for candidates.

      McCutcheon hopes overturn the biennial limits, therefore allowing himself to donate to a higher quantity of candidates or organizations, but not more money to each individual candidate or organization itself.

      Thank you for the comment! Scotusblog is indeed a GREAT source of information.

  •  Yes. The S. Court really messed up (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    bad with C.U..

    But I keep thinking that Obama got elected anyway.  And the opposition spent so much money.  Was there an amount of money they could have spent that would have given Romney a win?

    Don't get me wrong....I'd like to see that ruling reversed.  But the younger crowd doesn't seem to entirely subscribe to their parents' way of gaining info on candidates.  So how does a corporation go about spending campaign dollars to gain a vote?

      Seems like the younger generation are doing well to think a bit more for themselves and no amount of stroking or chiding is going to have them think differently when they can see and experience for themselves the job outlook, for example.  They seem to have much more skepicism than their parents and grandparents.

    Also seems to me that finding that kid to market to is harder to do.  Romney got out his whiteboard, but kids didn't tune into that for info so much as for a laugh at an out of touch old white man.  And then pubs decided that the internet was the way to go, but still couldn't get it together.  And messaging seemed to be a bit of a problem, as I recall.

    Which makes me think that is why the voter suppression is such a huge deal to them.

    Frankly, if I were a republican strategist, I would talk about paying kids not to vote.  Seriously.  Day after election, if records show they didn't vote, they get paid.  That would probabaly have a bigger payoff than all the other advertising put together.  And they could drop the effort to suppress votes.

    Anyway, nothing says desperate like throwing money at a problem right off the bat.

    •  Re: Obama's election and voter suppression (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      1) I agree with your insinuation that a Romney win, even with increased funding, was unlikely. Republicans realized only afterwards how much the party needed an image overhaul. (Though they don't seem to be doing much about it.)

      I do think, however, that money has an almost tangible effect on smaller elections. In that same election (2012), 89% of Wisconsin's 115 state legislative contests were won by the better-funded candidate. And that's just one state-- there are clear trends nationwide showing that money leads to wins.

      2) I agree; voter suppression is a GOP effort to prevent those least likely to vote Republican from expressing those opinions at the polls. Instead of amending failed policies and unpopular platforms, Republicans now employ a campaign strategy that manipulates IF constituents vote... not "for whom."

      Take a look at this recent Think Progress post about how Republicans are so (apparently admittedly) out of touch that a perceived dip in minority voting is seen as making for a "great year" for Republicans. Unbelievable.  

      •  Yep, saw that earlier, which (0+ / 0-)

        tells me where their real fears lie.  I just wish we could get the youth out there in greater numbers.  Need to start a 'Youth+" campaign where all registered youth grab one unregistered youth and get them registered. Then get them all out the door to vote in all elections.

        I agree with your analysis on money buying smaller elections.  I live in MI and we are completely controlled by repubs.  And we are gerrymandered, so not quite so much hope in future years.  Our only hope at this point is to make Gov. Snyder a one term gov so the new dem gov can start stamping veto on a lot of things, but a lot of damage has already been done.

  •  The Supreme Court boot lickers of the 1% are for (0+ / 0-)

    now untouchable with their 5 votes.  Things change and when our day comes, I hope I see it, we will reverse these perverse rulings.

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