Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Another campaign finance limit wiped out

Posted By on Wed, May 28, 2014 at 11:24 AM

Recently, and quietly, the State Board of Elections declared its yearly overall contribution limits unenforceable. But limits on contributions to individual candidates remain in place, according to an Associated Press article.

Prior to the decision, a person or limited liability corporation could only donate a maximum of $150,000 to a combination of candidates, political parties, and independent groups. The Board of Elections' recent decision wipes out that cap, which creates a situation where donors could give the maximum donation to as many candidates and party committees as they want, and then give more still to independent groups or political party housekeeping accounts, without fear of running into a cap on their overall political spending.

The AP story says the board members took the action in response to a Supreme Court decision and another decision in a Manhattan-based federal court. In April, the Supreme Court ruled that aggregate caps on political contributions violated the First Amendment. (SCOTUSblog has a page devoted to the case, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission.)

The board's decision and the Supreme Court ruling it's based on could result in a new flood of spending in this year's state elections. 

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