McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission

At issue in McCutcheon v. FEC were aggregate limits in campaign finance law. Aggregate limits refer to the total amount of money donors can contribute to candidates and political committees. The case did not address base limits on how much a donor can give to any single candidate.

On April 2, 2014, The Supreme Court ruled that aggregate limits are unconstitutional and invalid under the First Amendment. The Roberts Court held that aggregate limits restrict how much money a donor may contribute to candidates for federal office, political parties, and political action committees, and as a result they do not further the government’s interest in preventing quid pro quo corruption or the appearance of such corruption. The limits were also ruled to severely restrict participation in the democratic process and are a violation of free speech rights.

In protecting essential First Amendment principles, Chief Justice Roberts wrote in his opinion that, “An aggregate limit on how many candidates and committees an individual may support through contributions is not a modest restraint at all. 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.”

 

Find the full text of the opinion here.

Prior to Mr. McCutcheon joining Coolidge-Reagan as Chairman, the Foundation filed an Amicus Curiae brief in the case in support of his position. That brief can be found here.

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