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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Worse than Watergate

The U.S. Supreme Court is mulling a case that could end up giving America’s wealthy a perpetual green light to contribute as much as they want directly to politicians and political parties.

"Federal campaign finance reform legislation enacted four decades ago in the wake of the Watergate scandal limits how much individuals can give directly to candidates and political parties. In 2012, McCutcheon (an Alabama businessman) ran up against those limits, then sitting at about $46,000 for candidates and $70,000 for party committees. McCutcheon had wanted to give candidates and party panels much more. Under the law, he couldn’t then — and he can’t now either. The current, inflation-adjusted aggregate limit for the 2014 congressional elections: $123,000.
But wealthy individuals like McCutcheon, thanks to previous court decisions, can spend on their own, independently of candidate and party campaigns, as much as they want to influence a federal election’s impact. In other words, a billionaire can’t currently give a particular congressional candidate a $1 million check. But the same billionaire can legally hand a TV station $1 million to run 30-second ads that extol that candidate’s virtues — or attack that candidate’s opponent. [...] If the Supreme Court uses the McCutcheon case to erase our last remaining Watergate-era campaign funding limits, these political insiders will get their way. For the first time in years, they would be able to solicit unlimited contributions from America’s wealthy."

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/10/20-0