Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Challenge to Challenge to Aggregate Contribution Limits


Today, unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge brought to the aggregate federal contribution limits, noting probable jurisdiction in McCutcheon v. FEC.  The case, brought by plaintiffs Shaun McCutcheon and the Republican National Committee (RNC), challenges both the $70,800 aggregate limit on contributions to non-candidate committees and the $46,200 aggregate limit on contributions to candidate committees in a two-year election cycle.

In September of 2012, a three-judge panel in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia concluded that the aggregate limits are justified, and rejected the arguments of the plaintiff that the limits are unconstitutionally low and unconstitutionally overbroad.

“It is troubling that the Supreme Court has chosen to hear this challenge, but it has become readily apparent that there are a number of Justices who are willing to usurp Congress’s role as legislator when it comes to matter of campaign finance,” said Tara Malloy, Campaign Legal Center Senior Counsel.  “An aggregate contribution limit was passed in the wake of the Watergate money scandals and was upheld in the 1976 Supreme Court decision Buckley v. Valeo.  If the current aggregate limits were to be struck down, one-, two- and even three-million dollars in contributions could easily be funneled by a single donor to his or her party and candidates of choice. Corruption, or at the very least the appearance of corruption, would be the rule rather than the exception in Washington.”

To read the amici brief filed by the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21, in defense of the aggregate limits, click here.

To read the District Court's decision upholding the aggregate contribution limits, click here.