Supreme Court Strikes Cap on Political Donations

Decision, split 5-4, will allow individuals to donate as much as they want overall
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2014 9:51 AM CDT
Supreme Court Strikes Cap on Political Donations
The Supreme Court is seen after a dusting of snow in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Supreme Court dealt yet another blow to campaign finance rules today, ruling that it is unconstitutional to cap the total amount a person could give to candidates, political parties, and PACs. Watergate-era laws have long constrained how much any one person could give; for the 2013-2014 cycle, for example, Congress had set the cap at $123,200, with no more than $48,600 going to individual candidates, the AP explains. But in a 5-4 decision, the court ruled that the rule violated the First Amendment.

The ruling does not strike down the limit on how much a person can give to any given candidate, only how much he can give overall. In his majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts argues that these overall limits don't further the government's interest in avoiding quid-pro-quo corruption, and hence can't be regulated. Roberts' opinion was only backed by three of his colleagues, according to SCOTUSBlog; Clarence Thomas voted with them, but wrote a separate opinion saying that he wanted to also overturn the landmark Buckley v. Valeo campaign finance case. (More US Supreme Court stories.)

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