With Republicans trying to remove caps on all direct political donations, the New York Times looks at how it works in Missouri—where one retired investor has donated $20 million to PACs and candidates over the past four years. Rex Sinquefield, 68, has helped sustain a GOP campaign for secretary of state by cutting it checks worth $400,000. Sinquefield's primary interest: replacing state and local income taxes—key sources of state revenue—with sales taxes.
"He has been able to change the debate," says a lawyer who advocates for contribution limits. "He’s gotten the state to consider issues that everyone considered dead." Yet the Democratic candidate for secretary of state has raked in more money overall—mostly from trial lawyers and unions—and the GOP candidate, Shane Schoeller, insists he won't play favorites if elected. Now Missouri's philosophy could go nationwide, as the same lawyers who argued for Citizens United are urging Congress to repeal all direct-contribution limits—one of the few remaining reforms left over from Watergate.