Supreme Court strikes down individual aggregate contribution limits

By William H Minor

The US Supreme Court has struck down a long-standing campaign finance provision that limited the total amount that individuals may contribute to federal political candidates and committees. The decision, in the case McCutcheon et al v Federal Election Commission, was handed down on 2 April 2014. It is the most significant campaign finance case since the Citizens United decision in 2010.

In a five-to-four decision, the court reasoned in McCutcheon that the aggregate limits do not further a legitimate government interest and that the First Amendment protects the ability of an individual to contribute to as many candidates and committees as the individual wishes.

The aggregate limits at debate in the case established a maximum cap that an individual may give to all federal candidates and committees over a two-year election cycle. For 2013-14, the figure was set at $123,200 (£73,400). Within that total, an individual could give no more than $48,600 to candidates for federal office, with the remainder of the limit available for contributions to federal party committees and federal political action committees…

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