Well, if you want to know when all the rules came off in regards to how elections were run, it may have started with Citizens United, but it caps off today.
The Supreme Court struck down caps that individuals can make to candidates or political parties during a two-year election cycle, in an opinion Wednesday by Chief Justice John Roberts.
The case, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, marks the most consequential campaign finance ruling from the high court since the landmark Citizens United decision in 2010.
In the majority opinion of the court by Roberts, the court ruled that the limits violate the First Amendment. The "aggregate limits do not further the permissible governmental interest in preventing quid pro quo corruption or its appearance," the majority opinion read.
Shaun McCutcheon, the lead plaintiff in the case, challenged the limit on donations individuals can give to candidates and political organizations, saying it limited his First Amendment rights. It challenged section 441 of the Federal Election Campaign Act, which provides a biennial aggregate limit on the amount individuals can donate.
Roberts was joined in the majority opinion by the court's other conservative-leaning justices — Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, and Antonin Scalia. Justice Clarence Thomas, the court's other conservative, concurred with the majority opinion but wrote a separate opinion arguing the court should have gone further.
And now, we become a country where infinite direct giving is going to dominate election cycles.
Huzzah for the Plutocrats!
Today's decision left intact the cap of $2,600 per election that a contributor to give to any single candidate for federal office, but it invalidated the separate limit on how much can be contributed to all federal candidates put together — $48,600.
Under the aggregate limits, an individual could donate a maximum of $48,600 to all candidates for federal office plus another $74,600 to national political parties, state and local political parties, and political action committees — a grand contribution total of $123,200 per election.In the end, the second part is important, because now unlimited direct giving to a party (not a specific candidate) is now allowable, and direct giving of unlimited amounts to combined candidates allows certain individuals to shore up numerous races directly or indirectly with absolutely no limits at all.