For Immediate Release
Michael Russo, Federal Program Director
Today Supreme Court Ruled for Another Flood of Big Money
Decision in McCutcheon v FEC could add $1 billion from big donors through 2020
WASHINGTON - Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in McCutcheon v. FEC to strike down overall, or aggregate, contribution limits to candidates and political committees. U.S. PIRG research found that this ruling could bring $1 billion in additional campaign contributions from fewer than 2,800 elite donors through the 2020 election cycle.
“In Citizens United the Supreme Court handed a giant megaphone to the wealthiest interests, and now with their ruling in McCutcheon, they’ve turned up the volume even higher,” said Michael Russo, Federal Program Director with U.S. PIRG.
In the case, Alabama donor Shaun McCutcheon asked the Court to strike down the overall limit on what an individual can give to federal candidates, parties, and PACs in a two-year election cycle. That limit stood at $123,200 – over twice the average household income in the U.S. In 2012, only 1,219 donors came within 10% of hitting the aggregate limit. Research from U.S. PIRG and Demos projects that now that the aggregate limit has been struck down, this same set of 1,219 donors will more triple their gifts to $459.3 million.
The Supreme Court has never before struck down a federal contribution limit, maintaining that these limits are constitutional because they prevent corruption and the appearance of corruption.
“The last thing we need right now is to increase the giving of the donors with the deepest pockets,” concluded Russo. “It’s time to amend the Constitution to overturn the Court’s wrong-headed decisions permitting a handful of millionaires and corporate interests to dominate our elections.”
“McCutcheon Money” – U.S. PIRG and Demos report projecting the impact of today’s Supreme Court decision.
U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, we take on the special interests on issues, such as product safety,political corruption, prescription drugs and voting rights,where these interests stand in the way of reform and progress.