McCain-Feingold “Soft Money” Ban Upheld Again by Supreme Court: Statement of Executive Director J. Gerald Hebert


Today’s summary decision in RNC v. FEC by the U.S. Supreme Court is welcome news for anyone disturbed by the pay-to-play model of democracy and commerce in Washington.  Just 7 years ago, the Court in the landmark McConnell v. FEC decision upheld the soft money provisions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) in their entirety. 

It would have been irresponsible for the high Court to revisit that issue again and show an utter lack of respect for judicial precedent.  After all, nothing has really changed since the McConnell decision, except of course for the composition of the Court, hardly a reason to overturn its decision of a few years ago.

Before BCRA was passed into law, funds in unlimited amounts were being contributed to national party committees from unrestricted sources (e.g., corporations, unions, etc.).  These staggering soft money contributions were a blatant circumvention of the federal contribution limits.  The expansive record compiled in McConnell clearly demonstrated the deeply corrosive effect these unregulated soft money contributions had on our democracy.  The Supreme Court’s decision today leaves these important restrictions in place.  

The Campaign Legal Center filed an amici brief in the case on behalf of the BCRA sponsors.