When the Supreme Courts resumes next session, one of the 1st cases it will consider is whether to allow more money into the United States political system. For many people, this may appear like a joke, bearing in mind the fact that over $6 billion was pumped into last year’s elections. Special interest money that flooded the system, thanks to Chief Justice’s court prior rulings, resulted in a campaign that was depressing for many people.
The issue before the court to be argued on the 8th of October will be whether to remove the limits on the collective amount a contributor can give to parties and candidates directly in a single cycle for federal elections. These limits have been in place for almost 40 years now. Currently, there are no limits on the money given to the political action committees or independent expenditures creating a situation that critics refer to as a legalized system of indirect bribery. If by any chance the court decides to remove the limits on the upfront contributions to congressional or presidential campaigns, it would mean that they will not be indirect any more.
When looking back at the 1st major decision in 1976 with regards to campaign-finance, the high court has at all time differentiated between independent expenditures and contributions and majority of the decisions have ruled that there be limits to the contributions so as to prevent corruption or the appearance of it. This is different from the expenditures, which have been ruled to be a form of speech by the court. The rulings have included lifting of the limit on the amount that of individual money that a wealthy candidate is allowed to spend on campaigns. However, a lower court gave approval for the rich individuals to offer unlimited sums of money to the political action committees that back politicians although they are supposed to be separate from the campaigns.
The high court has until now upheld the limits time after time on the direct contributions that can be given to candidates for political parties or the federal office. If the courts overturn these precedents, the effect on the spending during the campaigns would be significant. Fred Wertheiner, Democracy 21’s president says that the consequences of such an action could be worse than that of the Citizen United case that allowed corporate money be spent on the allegedly independent expenditures.
However, critics of the of the limits on the campaign finance claim that respond that such alarms are typical of from o’l Fred claims that the sky will fall every time more money is thrown into politics. The critics believe that the public can not be aroused by the mysterious fights over the collective limits
Under the current law, a wealthy contributor, who is allowed to spend any amount of money on the political action committees and independent expenditures, has limitation to donations of $74,600 to the party committees in a single election cycle. In addition, there also exists a limit of $48,600 that can be donated to individual candidates.