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Blake reports: "The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued one of its most significant campaign finance rulings ever, striking down the overall campaign contribution limits."

The Supreme court struck down overall limits on campaign contributions. (photo:
The Supreme court struck down overall limits on campaign contributions. (photo:

Supreme Court Strikes Down Campaign Contribution Limits

By Aaron Blake, The Washington Post

02 April 14


he Supreme Court on Wednesday issued one of its most significant campaign finance rulings ever, striking down the overall campaign contribution limits that currently prevented individuals from contributing more than $123,000 to candidates and party committees per election cycle.

In a 5-4 decision, the justices ruled that individuals should be able to give the maximum per-candidate and per-party contributions to as many party committees, presidential and congressional candidates as they want. Under the current limits, individuals could give no more than $123,000 in total and $48,600 to candidates for the 2013-2014 election cycle.

The court did not strike down contribution limits per candidate (now $2,600) and per party committee (now $32,400), but the decision does overturn previous rules that restricted individuals from giving those maximum donations to dozens of candidates and several party committees.

This meant that wealthy donors would have to be more selective about whom they contributed to -- contributing to House Democrats' campaign committee, for instance, but not Senate Democrats'.

In its decision, the court compared the overall contribution limits to restricting the number of candidates a newspaper can endorse.

"Contributing money to a candidate is an exercise of an individual's right to participate in the electoral process through both political expression and political association," the justices wrote. "A restriction on how many candidates and committees an individual may support is hardly a 'modest Restraint' on those rights. The Government may no more restrict how many candidates or causes a donor may support than it may tell a newspaper how many candidates it may endorse."

Campaign finance watchdogs were quick to decry to ruling.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called Wednesday's ruling "predictable" given that the Supreme Court had previously struck down elements of the campaign finance reform bill he wrote and sponsored.

"I was deeply disappointed, but it is what it is," McCain said shortly after the ruling was announced. "I predict again, there will be major scandals in campaign finance contributions that will cause reform."

"There will be scandal," he repeated. "There's too much money washing around."

Most Republicans, though, praised the ruling for allowing Americans to have more voice in the political process through political donations.

"Today's Court decision in McCutcheon v. FEC is an important first step toward restoring the voice of candidates and party committees and a vindication for all those who support robust, transparent political discourse," said Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), in comments after the decision, derided the campaign finance law McCain helps spearhead, known as "McCain-Feingold," and praised the Supreme Court.

"What I think this means is that freedom of speech is being upheld," Boehner said. "You all have the freedom to write what you want to write. Donors ought to have the freedom to give what they want to give."

Here's the decision.

Ed O'Keefe contributed to this report. your social media marketing partner


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We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

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It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

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Founder, Reader Supported News

+92 # Henry 2014-04-02 09:43
Granny D is not happy, and neither are the rest of the normal, decent people of America.
+71 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-04-02 10:28
The Supreme Court, (also known as the law office of the Republican Party,) now firmly believes politics is a war "game" and we the people, Democracy lost. Without exception, all wars are cruel in nature. Very sad day for the future of this country and "we the people." This ruling is a disastrous blow to our country. The issue now arises, how can we collectively fight back against the Supreme Court and win back our Democracy?

The Supreme Court has essentially overthrown our Democracy and not one of the Supreme Court judges has yet been served nor considered with impeachment proceedings? Only in America.

Abraham Lincoln:"Americ ans will rise to a great cause if given the facts. The point is to give them the facts."
+106 # barkingcarpet 2014-04-02 09:46
All this is is freedom of speech for the wealthy. Everyone and everything else LOSES.
We have an uninformed, ignorant, apathetic, and uninvolved electorate, and a corrupted government beholden to we the corporation, and we the wealthy, at the expense, and on the backs of the commons of Nature, and We, The People.
I AM ashamed to be an American, and proud of it.
We do not have policy which is survivable, or sane, and WE, need to get involved and change the whirled, while we are still here.
Time is short, and Nature cares not a bit about our rules and laws of money, profit, and destruction of all the living systems which support all life, including our's.
+27 # The Buffalo Guy 2014-04-02 12:29
Thanks, Barkingcarpet! You saved me from writing exactly what you did. I too am ashamed but it's for being human and I get frustrated watching humans at work with little regard for others or the future!
+21 # jsluka 2014-04-02 13:01
QUOTE: "I am am ashamed to be an American, and proud of it."

Well said Barkingcarpet - your entire comment speaks for me too, but I particularly appreciated the sentence above.

You are a true pariot and hero!
+102 # dsepeczi 2014-04-02 09:52
Yet another nail in the coffin of American democracy. Money is NOT speech. It IS influence. This is how the few rule the many. While we, the people our government is SUPPOSED to be working for, can bitch about anything we want .... even if 99% of all Americans agree that something we're doing is wrong ... we will be ignored because all of our politicians will just do the bidding of our corporate masters and ignore public opinion without fear of retribution because they know that all of their ilk are exactly the same so we can't even hurt them with our vote. Sad to think that so many good people fought and died to preserve our democracy, only to watch it fall in a bloodless coup as our once proud way of life was sold out by the very people we elected to protect it.
+20 # bdeja 2014-04-02 13:09
You are quite right as far as you go.But don't forget that "We the People" have slept through much of this coup. " We the People" have been dumbed down with if we are employed we have jobs that pay very, very little.Our media is owned by a few very conservative voices for the most part. And the Nations conversation has steadily moved further and further to the right without much push back by our "champions"- the Democrats. The unlimited greed, callousness, and immorality of the corporate bizillioneers and the extreme religious zealots has been so without respite and without any concern for women, minorities, and or anyone that is not themselves.
+54 # tedrey 2014-04-02 10:10
`Ye who suffer woes untold,
Or to feel, or to behold
Your lost country bought and sold
With a price of blood and gold--

`Let a vast assembly be,
And with great solemnity
Declare with measured words that ye
Are, as God has made ye, free--

`Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number--
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you--
Ye are many -- they are few.'
+16 # tclose 2014-04-02 13:54
How fitting, tedrey, even though written (by Shelley) in 1819. Thanks for this.

Let us rise from slumber, shake our chains to earth, and declare that we are, as God has made us, free. Not beholding to the oligarchs who strive to own our land, and us.
+47 # j.a.o 2014-04-02 10:14
That's because they are bought and paid for as well. We ought to impeach them
+62 # reiverpacific 2014-04-02 10:17
I don't have the time or patience to read "The Decision" -all 94 pages of legalese- but we can surely guess who the FIVE are.
Let each of their their gravestones be engraved with the words "He helped to kill a country"!
+19 # Vardoz 2014-04-02 12:52
And call your goddamn rep and demand CU be amended and regulated so as to maintain a level playing field for the majority- in order to protect our democratic system. THEY DEPEND ON YOUR APATHY.
202-224 3121
+6 # michelle 2014-04-02 16:26
Done. I called Ami Bera. For those in the Sacramento area there is a protest at the Capitol tonight at 5:00.

If you live somewhere else, here is the link to find a rally:
+49 # bbaldwin2001 2014-04-02 10:23
I think it is time for a couple of these right wing Supreme Court judges to retire. Scallia and Thomas would be the first two I would say deserve to disappear.
+50 # maddave 2014-04-02 10:23
Five men just opened the floodgates that will allow foreign nations, foreign nationals and foreign economic interests to exert (further) uncontrollable participation in our domestic elections and affairs.
Great job, Guys!
+14 # Activista 2014-04-02 11:49
Congress will be "selected" in Israel and Saudi Arabia - more than it is now. This is why they are voting for Iran sanctions - like 90%.
+45 # angryspittle 2014-04-02 10:48
It is high time to impeach those five imperious plutocratic bastards on the Supreme Court.
+38 # Shirley in Berkeley 2014-04-02 10:52
Now candidates can legally add "For Sale" signs to the usual displays of campaign posters.
+27 # Luckyenough 2014-04-02 10:59
Nothing stopping them now ... like PacMan of old, the billionaires and multi-millionai res have bought their way all the way up the ladder, from local politicians to Congress and have now purchased the Supreme Court. I too am ashamed of what this country has been reduced to. We are frogs plunked in cold water and the heat has gradually been turning up since GW and his puppeteer Cheney took office. We have now officially been boiled alive.
+25 # dsepeczi 2014-04-02 10:59
Maybe our politicians and the Supremes should just dress like NASCAR drivers, wearing the logos of all the corporations that "sponsor" them. Nah. Silly me. I forgot. All the corporate donors don't want us to know who and what they sponsor. :/
+15 # Activista 2014-04-02 11:51
Quoting dsepeczi:
Maybe our politicians and the Supremes should just dress like NASCAR drivers, wearing the logos of all the corporations that "sponsor" them. Nah. Silly me. I forgot. All the corporate donors don't want us to know who and what they sponsor. :/

wearing the logos of all the countries that sponsor them? Israel, Saudi Arabia ..
+22 # Stan 2014-04-02 11:47
How sad. Limiting campaign spending is limiting free speech. Really? What leap of logic did that require? . Even the Supreme Court has become immersed in the general political corruption. Government by the rich for the rich. How long will people put up with this?
+24 # Farmerboy 2014-04-02 11:52
Perhaps now it's time for a general strike
+18 # Jim Young 2014-04-02 11:58
If this doesn't totally outrage the knowledgeable citizenry of this country and spark every imaginable action to counter this unbelievable encouragement of criminal extortion as practiced by ALEC, State Policy Network (collection of sham organizations with misleading names), and Donors Trust, I don't know what will. We need to fight them harder than ever at every local, state and national level possible, plus demanding Constitutional Amendment(s) to bring this corruption to a screeching halt.

Never again let the Supreme Court use the lack of crystal clear laws to allow infliction of such corrupt practices on what is left of this Democracy By the people, For the people, and Of the (real) people.

This is an unimaginable disgrace to the every idea of a real democracy, left open by the failure of our elected officials to prevent it.

It absolutely must transcend the legislature, and be rectified by the people's demand for effective Constitutional Amendment(s).

While we're at it demand RICO investigations of the people and organizations that left us vulnerable to this insult and injury.

The free men of the world should be thoroughly disgusted by the acts of those who created this.
+12 # woofer 2014-04-02 12:21
Since Congress is gridlocked and doesn't do anything, maybe the cost of buying a member will come down to where ordinary folks can afford one. Or at least consider putting one on the VISA card. I think Darryl Issa would look really great over my fireplace.
+13 # hoodwinkednomore 2014-04-02 12:24
Just unimaginable! What planet do they think they're living on? Oh, I forgot...THEIR planet. What goes around comes around, buddy boys!! You better get ready for the next American Revolution cuz the people aint going to take this horse pucky no more!! Time to OCCUPY OUR gov't!
+14 # jsluka 2014-04-02 13:04
When these Supreme Courtesans die, we should start a tradition of visiting their graves to pee on them.
-7 # rmk948 2014-04-02 14:53
I'll play devil's advocate here. Unlimited donations to Superpacs and the like have been OK since Citizens United. It may not be entirely a bad thing for some of this money to flow back to campaign committees which are more accountable than mysterious "independent" groups. Not a great decision, but hardly an unmitigated disaster.
+6 # LizR 2014-04-02 14:59
Now you really *do* have the best government money can buy!

Remember the reason citizens have the "right to bear arms" in your wonderful country? It isn't just so some nutter can massacre schoolkids with horrifying regfularity, you know.
+5 # Rcomm 2014-04-02 15:29
Well said, bbalwin2001. Scalia is senile, Thomas and Roberts should never have been appointed.
+5 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2014-04-02 15:49
“A restriction on how many candidates and committees an individual may support is hardly a 'modest Restraint' on those rights. The Government may no more restrict how many candidates or causes a donor may support than it may tell a newspaper how many candidates it may endorse."

That a majority of the highest court in the land, supposedly educated, logical people, could tout not one but TWO logical fallacies in one, short quotation is astounding. First they have equated an individual’s support with a donor’s support. This is a False Analogy as they are implying that a written or spoken endorsement is the same as donating money. Second they have suggested that because the Government cannot restrict the freedom of the press to endorse candidates, it also cannot restrict anyone’s freedom to spend as much money as they want on as many candidates as they want. This is a Non-Sequitur. The latter does not follow from the former. To follow, the argument would have to have been, “The Government may no more restrict how many candidates or causes an individual may endorse than it may tell a newspaper how many candidates it may endorse." The right to endorse any number of candidates, that is to express opinions, is an unrestricted, Constitutionall y protected right. The right to give unlimited funds to candidates is not Constitutionall y protected and can be regulated by Government. As dsepeczi said, “Money is NOT speech.”
+9 # reo100 2014-04-02 16:24
Non violent protests are now in order! Stop buying anything that isn't a necessity. These Corporations own us! We need to throw the SCOTUS 5 out and most politicians in each party.
+6 # BKnowswhitt 2014-04-02 16:45
Money has been the game primarily since Reagan took over. Now it's officially open season for that model. The only thing missing was the arrogant legislation of it all until this court officially codified that model. We've come full circle. Time for a real Tea Party to take place against the Redneck Redcoats of the present day .. oh yeah and throw away the Constitution as well .. now it doesn't mean shit!!!
+4 # RnR 2014-04-02 19:46
Rather than being subjected to years of campaigning why doesn't the supreme court just hand out a list of those "elected"?
+3 # RnR 2014-04-02 21:49
and they can just release copies of the staged debates along with responses by both candidates :)
+5 # chinaski 2014-04-02 23:01
Money talks. And money...has spoken.
It is amazing how much "free speech" money will buy for something that is neither 'free' nor is 'speech' worth listening to. The speech money buys is an old lie perennially repackaged to look like 'your rights', but whose real purpose is to undermine one's REAL rights.

An organism that converts money into lies.
+7 # Rain17 2014-04-02 23:52
I've said it a million times, but this is why elections matter. Elections do have consequences. To the winner goes the judicial appointments. And a Democratic President would not have appointed Justices Alito and Robert to the bench. So there is a "difference" between the two parties.
0 # BKnowswhitt 2014-04-03 06:31
Like in the early days of the original colonies. Only landowners could vote. Blacks could not vote .. women could not vote .. election by majority was not their idea .. only if you had a 'stake' in the thing .. now the ideology of the two parties becomes more apparent. By 5 Repukes to 4 Dempukes ... only the big stake holders will be enlivened ... and vote by majority rule not relevant ... unless of course the sub party lucks out...
+1 # BKnowswhitt 2014-04-03 06:32
When they need to win a particular state senate seat to get a majority the creeps will dump inordinate amounts of money in the form of tv advertising that will be misleading and untrue - and in places where they get to vote with their money -to scare the shit out of dumb fucking Americans and sway the thing to their side .. it's legislation of corruption that will surely come down the road ..
+2 # dsepeczi 2014-04-03 07:41
To rehash an old joke ... Politics is a word derived from the Greek word, "poli" (meaning many), and tics (a bunch of bloodsucking insects).
+1 # thunderable 2014-04-03 20:01
The SCOTUS should be abolished for many reasons, and this decision is one. Don't they get (or do they care - no!) that by giving one, small group 'more' 1st Amendment rights, they allow them to trample the rights of the less well-heeled (the other 318 million or so of us), which subverts their unfounded argument that the right to uncapped total contributions is a 1st Amendment right? Money is NOT speech, it is power to buy 'speech' - access and, definitely, outsized influence.

In any case, I hope no one is surprised by this's just the individual version of Citizens United and was inevitable with this anti-human, pro-corporate/r ich, reactionary Court. We really need to amend the Constitution (which was really of, by and for the white and wealthy, and still is) to remove corporate rights and establish rights for human beings.
+1 # AncientSeeker 2014-04-03 23:39
[1]As a 68 year old veteran progressive I have always thought this high court the most undemocratic of the three legged institutions this government staggers around on, lurching from one clusterfuck to another. Which to me makes this court in serious need of a few impeachments for criminal negligence! To light the other justices asses, so they stop hurting us, and start helping us, to stop the approaching overthrow of our democracy! Right now this court is an enabler, it sanctions completely these international corporations usurping our sovereignty! The court is way to close to corporations and religion, which they seem determined to make equal with E Pluribus Unum. While acting the pompous ass, arrogant and disrespectful snobs, even to the very US Constitution they took and oath to defend. This veteran is sick of their one sided attitude, which was always against the american people. Our 99% fought all the wars, the folks deserve better. While half these judges are not qualified to be admin judges, resent example of amateurism-stup idity? I have a 5 year old grand daughter who knows inanimate objects are not equal to humans on any level.
+1 # AncientSeeker 2014-04-03 23:40
{2] The fault is ours as a people, we tolerate this insulting behavior to us, and our Constitution and Bill of Rights, with no remedy, because we have manners we tell ourselves. What good are manners if your converted to a slave?! It must end! Will sign, would encourage others to sign, any petition to impeach the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Roberts, judge Scalia, an insult to honest Italian decedents, and Thomas. Thomas, an utter worthless, put in to insult the memory of Thurgood Marshall, he was salt on the wound by racists. Believe those three, thrown under the bus, would take the fear of their deity away, to be replace with fear of the US citizens, like it should be. Really tried of this shit, fire these bums.
-1 # BKnowswhitt 2014-04-04 17:46
Little did i know as this article does not explain. This decision does not allow unlimited money to one campaign. The limit of 130,000 or whatever it was is still upheld. the only change is that one individual (obviously wealthy) or corporation .. can contribute that limited amount to as many campaigns as they so choose to spend their money ... so this article is lacking in fact finding ... and did not even mention the change as i have stated herein .. bad reporting Truthout .. in my view ...
-1 # BKnowswhitt 2014-04-04 17:49
Er 123,000 per candidate you mention. But you don't mention that basic change is that 'speech' is allowed amongst as many candidates as one wants to back upholding that limit ... and that support is in the form of speech .. so i agree that the spirit of the Roberts Court in this regard not so corrupt as portrayed .. as in this environment money does equate speech in the environment of elections in the capitalist system ...
-1 # BKnowswhitt 2014-04-04 17:50
Speech being in the form of tv ads etc to inform or disinform the other side as one so sees it ...
-1 # BKnowswhitt 2014-04-04 17:52
Can this corrupt a system? Surely. However not if the electorate are truly informed about an issue or issues. You can tell lies Like Bush/Cheney with regard to Iraq ... however they are still paying the price for such with the Dems now in control directly related to their false speech .. So eventually the real facts of speech and truth come out ........
0 # BKnowswhitt 2014-04-05 15:12
Yeah you go negative. Until you realize that a big donor now can contribute the 123 thousand to as many campaigns as they like. What if it's a liberal donor and they run ads in every congressional race in the country in october to the tune of 123,000.00 each to all those campaigns .. then when it goes your way you won't be giving me negatives .. use your fucking heads .. for crimminy's sake ...!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!

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