Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Supreme Court case could deal another blow to campaign finance law

Posted By on Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 12:02 PM

The Supreme Court is set to take up a case that could wipe out federal campaign contribution limits. And if that happens, the public is supposed to pity Washington lobbyists, apparently.

An article published yesterday in The Hill, a news site devoted to all things Congress, bears the headline "Lobbyists fear shakedown if Supreme Court lifts campaign contributions cap." Lobbyists, who get paid for trying to influence members of Congress, also get hit up for campaign contributions a lot, reports The Hill. And they fear that, without limits to what they or their clients can give, politicians would be even more aggressive about soliciting contributions, The Hill says.

Republican and Democratic donors both tell The Hill that the limits give them an excuse to deny at least some fund-raising requests. But seriously, there should be restrictions on what people lobbying Congress can contribute toward elections; money and politics have a long history and much of it isn't pretty.

The Supreme Court case in question, McCutcheon v. Federal Elections Commission, doesn't involve limits on contributions to individual candidates. Instead, the the case questions the constitutional validity of aggregate limits for each two-year Congressional election cycle; PBS's Frontline explains here. Basically, the court could strike down limits on the amount of money a person or entity can give to multiple candidates or committees in a two-year election period.

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