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TRENTON – Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in McCutcheon v. FECto strike down overall, or aggregate, contribution limits to candidates and political committees. NJPIRG 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 Peter Skopec, Program Associate with NJPIRG.
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 willmore 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 McCutcheon ruling, on top of the Citizens United ruling, clearly shows that the Court's majority believes in the rights of the wealthy minority over the rights of the rest of us,” said Susannah Newman, Coordinator for the NJ Coalition for the Overturn of Citizens United. “Fair elections in the United States are now history. It is clear, now more than ever, that a Constitutional Amendment is necessary; that people must rise up and reclaim their democracy. No congressional candidate should be voted into office this November without going on the record vociferously in support of a Constitutional Amendment to overturn both the Citizens United and McCutcheon rulings.”
“The last thing we need right now is to increase the giving of the donors with the deepest pockets,” concluded Skopec. “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.
NJPIRG, the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group, is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy organization that takes on powerful interests on behalf of its members, working to win concrete results for our health and well-being.
Member groups of NJ for the Overturn of Citizens United include: The American Dream Movement, MoveOn, Common Cause, NJPIRG, the Coalition for Peace Action, NJ Citizen Action and Main Street Alliance, Sierra Club, BlueWave, Food and Water Watch, Free Speech For People, the NJ Work Environment Council, Working Families Alliance, People for the American Way, Public Citizen, the IBT Local 877, the American Federation of Teachers, NJ CWA, the NJ State Industrial Union Council, the NJ Tenants Organization, United Steelworkers District 4, the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of New Jersey, and Bus for Progress.
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