Tuesday, July 22, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

High court voids overall contribution limits

By
From page A2 | April 02, 2014 |

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court struck down limits Wednesday in federal law on the overall campaign contributions the biggest individual donors may make to candidates, political parties and political action committees.

The justices said in a 5-4 vote that Americans have a right to give the legal maximum to candidates for Congress and president, as well as to parties and PACs, without worrying that they will violate the law when they bump up against a limit on all contributions, set at $123,200 for 2013 and 2014. That includes a separate $48,600 cap on contributions to candidates.

But their decision does not undermine limits on individual contributions to candidates for president or Congress, now $2,600 an election.

Chief Justice John Roberts announced the decision, which split the court’s liberal and conservative justices. Roberts said the aggregate limits do not act to prevent corruption, the rationale the court has upheld as justifying contribution limits.

The overall limits “intrude without justification on a citizen’s ability to exercise ‘the most fundamental First Amendment activities,’” Roberts said, quoting from the court’s seminal 1976 campaign finance ruling in Buckley v. Valeo.

Justice Clarence Thomas agreed with the outcome of the case, but wrote separately to say that he would have gone further and wiped away all contribution limits.

Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for the liberal dissenters, took the unusual step of reading a summary of his opinion from the bench.

Congress enacted the limits in the wake of Watergate-era abuses to discourage big contributors from trying to buy votes with their donations and to restore public confidence in the campaign finance system.

But in a series of rulings in recent years, the Roberts court has struck down provisions of federal law aimed at limiting the influence of big donors as unconstitutional curbs on free speech rights.

Most notably, in 2010, the court divided 5 to4 in the Citizens United case to free corporations and labor unions to spend as much as they wish on campaign advocacy, as long as it is independent of candidates and their campaigns. That decision did not affect contribution limits to individual candidates, political parties and political action committees.

Republican activist Shaun McCutcheon of Hoover, Ala., the national Republican party and Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky challenged the overall limits on what contributors may give in a two-year federal election cycle. The total is $123,200, including a separate $48,600 cap on contributions to candidates, for 2013 and 2014.

Limits on individual contributions, currently $2,600 per election to candidates for Congress, are not at issue.

Relaxed campaign finance rules have reduced the influence of political parties, McConnell and the GOP argued.

McCutcheon gave the symbolically significant $1,776 to 15 candidates for Congress and wanted to give the same amount to 12 others. But doing so would have put him in violation of the cap.

Nearly 650 donors contributed the maximum amount to candidates, PACs and parties in the last election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The court did not heed warnings from Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. and advocates of campaign finance limits that donors would be able to funnel large amounts of money to a favored candidate in the absence of the overall limit.

The Republicans also called on the court to abandon its practice over nearly 40 years of evaluating limits on contributions less skeptically than restrictions on spending.

The differing levels of scrutiny have allowed the court to uphold most contribution limits, because of the potential for corruption in large direct donations to candidates. At the same time, the court has found that independent spending does not pose the same risk of corruption and has applied a higher level of scrutiny to laws that seek to limit spending.

If the court were to drop the distinction between contributions and expenditures, even limits on contributions to individual candidates for Congress, currently $2,600 per election, would be threatened, said Fred Wertheimer, a longtime supporter of stringent campaign finance laws.

The case is McCutcheon v. FEC, 12-536.

————

By Mark Sherman. Follow him on Twitter at @shermancourt

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 6 comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • ontApril 02, 2014 - 8:40 pm

    A "Republican hacks in black robes hand the 1% another gift" headline would be more accurate.Other than the super-rich, gun nuts, and h omophobes, it’s amazing Republicans get any votes with their agenda. They believe billionaires don’t have enough ability to buy-off politicians already (thanks gop majority supreme court), that corporations are people, that mega-banks are hapless victims of over-regulation and mean rhetoric, that we have too few guns and gun “rights”, that religious dogma should be used to determine the validity of scientific results, that coal and oil companies should regulate themselves, that insurance companies should have the right to deny you health insurance on a whim, that torture is OK if you call it something else, to name a few. Yet, with the power of paid propaganda and faux news behind them, they keep getting votes.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Greg JohnsonApril 03, 2014 - 11:44 am

    Out of rehab again, huh? I can see from your comments you're still hazy. Apparently it didn't take......again. Hang in there buddy!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Puddin TaneApril 03, 2014 - 2:10 pm

    Greg, would you be so kind as to point out what exactly is wrong with ONT's analysis of SCOTUS and their recent decisions? It appears that most of his points, especially concerning campaign finance and corporate "personhood" (not sure how a business is a person, are you?), are fairly accurate assessments.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Greg JohnsonApril 03, 2014 - 5:40 pm

    Certainly I would be so kind (I'm nothing if not a kind man) Mr. Tane (or should I call you Puddin?).......................A "Republican hacks in black robes hand the 1% another gift" headline would be more accurate.Other than the super-rich, gun nuts, and h omophobes, it’s amazing Republicans get any votes with their agenda..............This is not analysis, it's pure bile of the kind that Ont is always spitting. Do I think there is corruption in our political system? YES. Do I like it? NO. It is all over the place on both sides of the aisle. When the Koch brothers contribute massive funds, it simply cannot be in the name of what they think is right. It is pure evil. When some democratic donor recently stated he would contribute 100 million to climate friendly candidates, he's a saint. There are reasonable people and opinions in both parties, and it is OK for reasonable people to disagree. The left rhetoric of "war on women", and other such rhetoric is crap that only sticks to some weak minds because it is spewed so often through the mainstream media. I am happy to have a rational discussion but Ont (although I'm sure he is basically a good guy) is incapable or unwilling to do that.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • ontApril 04, 2014 - 12:47 am

    I’m unwilling to have rational discussion? You’re the one who immediately sunk to the level of the personal attack. And you could not demonstrate that anything that I wrote was inaccurate.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • ontApril 04, 2014 - 12:53 am

    “Do I think there is corruption in our political system? YES. Do I like it? NO.” ------------------ You could have added, “Do I (Greg Johnson) enable it? H E L L YES.” By pretending the parties are no different with regard to their policy preferences on legalized bribery of politicians, you are part of the problem. The GOP welcomes full deregulation of campaign finance. They even want to hide the identities of wealthy donors. The GOP politicians on the Supreme Court just struck down another limit on the rich buying elections. As Romney supporter rich guy Tom Perkins said recently, pay a million in taxes, you should get a million votes. Elections are too important to their bottom line to be decided by the guy who cleans their swimming pool.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

News

Somewhere, over the rainbow

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A1

 
More homes for sale in Davis, at higher prices

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1, 5 Comments | Gallery

Girls sleep safely at Myanmar school, thanks to generous Davisites

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Davis teen succumbs to head injuries

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1, 5 Comments

Police seek suspect in Woodland robbery spree

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Poppenga files to run for Davis school board

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A2

Pets of the week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Federal appeals court deals blow to health law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Driver dies in rural crash

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

Appeals panel upholds race in admissions for UT Austin

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A3

 
Parents’ Night Out planned Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Saylor welcomes visitors at ‘office hours’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Summer produce, yummy treats featured at Sutter market

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

STEAC needs donations of personal care items

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
Drop off school supplies at Edward Jones offices

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Explore the night sky at Tuleyome Astronomy Night

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Tickets on sale now for DHS Hall of Fame dinner

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A5

Yolo County CASA seeks volunteer child advocates

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
.

Forum

Korean teenagers welcome us with open arms

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Time to support people with disabilities

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Shame on the Palestinians

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A4, 8 Comments

 
Kimble left a swimming legacy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Any treasures at The Cannery?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

 
Questions about city revenue

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

John Cole cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A4

 
Son-in-law has them worried

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

Not up for full-time caregiving

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
.

Sports

Tour leader Nibali: A ‘flag-bearer’ against doping

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Yolo Post 77 looks to avenge last year’s outcome

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Thompson shines as Republic falls

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

River Cats overpower Chihuahuas

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Area sports briefs: Heintz returns to UCD

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

MLB roundup: Duvall, Kontos help Giants beat Phillies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

.

Arts

Winters Fourth Friday Feast celebrates cycling

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Lincoln Highway rolls into Central Park

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Rock Band campers perform at E Street Plaza

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Acme Theatre to present ‘The Rememberer’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Video highlights walking The Camino

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

‘Grease’ is the show at WOH

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 (set 1)

By Creator | From Page: B5

 
Comics: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 (set 2)

By Creator | From Page: B7