U.S. Supreme Court Makes Landmark Campaign Finance Decision


This week, the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to in a campaign finance case (McCutcheon v. FEC) that struck down individual aggregate contribution limits to federal campaigns. The court ruled the contribution limits unconstitutional, on the grounds that contribution limits are a limit on free speech.

Prior to this week’s ruling, a donor could give $2,600 directly to a candidate, per election. However, under the law struck down by the court, donors were limited as to how many candidates or political committees to whom they could contribute. In total, individuals were capped at donating $123,200 to all candidates and politcal committees. Under the court’s ruling in McCutcheon, donors must still abide by the dollar limits  to any single candidate ($2,600 ), but they are now able to contribute to as many candidates or political committees as they want. 

The state of Wisconsin has its own contribution limits, but following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling, those limits could be struck down as well.

To some, the silver lining of the decision is contribution disclosure will increase, according to Mike Wittenwyler, who says, “More money [will go] through the regulated, disclosed system.” This could allow for more transparency in where big money to candidates is coming from.

Find more information on the McCutcheon v. FEC case:

What McCutcheon v. FEC means for Wisconsin: Godfrey & Kahn Law, April 2, 2014

McCutcheon v. FEC: SCOTUSblog.

High court’s ruling eliminates state’s campaign donor limits: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 2, 2014.

Winners and losers fromt he McCutcheon v. FEC ruling: The Washington Post, April 2, 2014.

McCutcheon Decision: Add some more zeroes to that check: OpenSecrets, April 2, 2014.