April 2, 2014 10:20 am -

The high court has thrown out limits on how much donors can give candidates in aggregate.

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 decision was a victory for the Republican National Committee and Alabama businessman Shaun McCutcheon, who challenged the $123,200 cap on contributions an individual can give to all federal candidates, parties and political action committees in a two-year election cycle.

McCutcheon’s challenge did not extend to the $2,600 limit a donor can give to a federal candidate in each primary and general election or the $32,400 limit that can go to a national party committee, because of concerns about corruption that are at the root of the federal law.

Under the court’s ruling, donors will have to stick to that $2,600 limit but can give to as many campaigns as they want without worrying about the previous $123,200 ceiling. The decision also could jeopardize separate contribution caps in at least a dozen states, from Arizona to Wyoming.

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.