SALT LAKE CITY – A decision about campaign donations and free speech is expected this week from the U.S. Supreme Court.
The case involves donation limits from individuals to those running for federal office, and their parties.
The current limit is $123,000, and those working to get money out of politics point out that’s roughly twice the family median income.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the libertarian Cato Institute favor an end to all restrictions on political donations.
“I do not think the danger of protecting the voice of the little guy is something the federal government, or any government, should be involved in,” says Trevor Burrus, a research fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies.
“It’s not a First Amendment concern that there are people out there who speak louder than other people and have more influence.”
Emma Boorboor, a democracy associate with U.S. Public Interest Research Group, counters that a current overall donation limit that tops $100,000 is plenty already.
“Absent this limit, one wealthy donor would be permitted to contribute more than $3.5 million to a single party’s candidates and party committees in one election cycle,” she points out.
In this case, McCutcheon v. Federal Elections Commission, an Alabama businessman says his First Amendment rights are violated when he can’t give a $2,600 donation to as many parties and candidates for federal office as he pleases.
Boorboor says she hopes the court rules against him.