Stand Up Against McCutcheon

by CommonCause category: Politics

“Americans want our voices and our votes to count—not big money. Join me in standing up against #McCutcheon.

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Slutter Oct 01, 12:00 EDT


This campaign ended on October 01 at 12PM

In October, the Supreme Court will hear a challenge to one type of contribution limits—what individuals can give in total, or “aggregate,” to all federal political committees. Here’s what you need to know about McCutcheon v. FEC:

1.  An Alabama businessman and the Republican National Committee want the Supreme Court to throw out “aggregate contribution limits.” The case is called McCutcheon v. FEC.

It’s about a sort of “super limit” on contributions—what individuals can give across all federal committees. For the 2014 cycle, that’s $123,200, or more than twice what average American families make in a year. It’s usually called the “aggregate contribution limit.”

Federal law sets limits on what individuals can donate to federal candidates, parties, and political action committees (PACs).

The case before the Supreme Court, as presented, would not touch limits on what individuals can give to candidates ($5,200 per election cycle), PACs ($5,000 per year), and national political parties ($32,400 per year).

On October 8th, lawyers for Shaun McCutcheon will argue before the Supreme Court that this super limit should be thrown out.

2. Throwing out aggregate contribution limits would put our elections more squarely in the hands of a wealthy few.

The wealthy already have a pretty big say in our political process. Just one ten thousandth of Americans (about 31,000 people) made up a full 25 percent of all campaign contributions in the 2012 election cycle, according to the Sunlight Foundation.

In 2012, about 1,200 people reached, or got close to, the aggregate limit being challenged, according to Public Campaign analysis of campaign finance data.

A quarter of these donors work on Wall Street or in the finance sector. About 1 in 6 of the country’s billionaires are on the list.

Like all of us, these donors have a stake in the outcome of elections. But what separates these big donors from regular people is that they get special treatment and access most Americans can’t afford.

Throwing out aggregate contribution limits would only increase political inequality, giving those who already have a megaphone in politics an amplifier.

3. Following past precedent, the Court should uphold the limits.

Contribution limits are an important tool toward limiting government corruption by outside interests and there is longstanding precedent for upholding them.

Eighty-five members of the U.S. House and two-dozen organizations—groups like the AARP, NAACP, and Sierra Club—have signed “friend of the court” briefs calling on the court to uphold the limits.

Our elections shouldn’t just be an argument between wealthy Democrats and wealthy Republicans. The Supreme Court should side with the voices of everyday people and defend these common sense limits on how much influence wealthy special interests can buy in Washington.

- via Public Campaign

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Common Cause is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1970 by John Gardner as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.

Today, Common Cause is one of the most active, effective, and respected nonprofit organizations working for political change in America. Common Cause strives to strengthen our democracy by empowering our members, supporters and the general public to take action on critical policy issues.

Now with nearly 400,000 members and supporters and 35 state organizations, Common Cause remains committed to honest, open and accountable government, as well as encouraging citizen participation in democracy.

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