Monday, June 30, 2014

Campaign finance redux

In a June 19th, 2008 oped this blogger suggested greatly raising the limits on potential campaign donations while massively strengthening disclosure and transparency with regard to the donations. Well, that's exactly where the law has been going as well, courtesy of a number of Supreme Court rulings...

"'... Earlier this spring, the Supreme Court delivered yet another blow to campaign finance regulation. In McCutcheon v. FEC, the Court invalidated the federal “aggregate limits” — or statutory restrictions on the amount any single individual can contribute to all federal candidates, parties, and committees combined. This decision was the latest in a string of decisions handed down by the Roberts Court removing restrictions on the flow of money into politics. 

McCutcheon is likely to drive significantly more money into the coffers of federal candidates, political parties, and other political committees. While the overall limit on the amount any individual could donate to such entities in a single election cycle was $123,200 prior to McCutcheon, wealthy individuals may now be able to contribute over $3.5 million in a single cycle... 

But less noted in the aftermath of McCutcheon was the fact that the Court went out of its way to affirm the constitutionality of campaign finance disclosure. The Chief Justice’s opinion asserted that disclosure “offers a particularly effective means of arming the voting public with information” and in addition provides “robust protections against corruption.” Indeed, every member of the current Court but Justice Thomas has now signaled strong approval of disclosure..."

The article then goes on to ask if current forms of disclosure are sufficient to meet the Chief Justice's assertion, before deciding that the current reporting/disclosure system need reform. They suggest a number of changes, including standardizing disclosure forms. As did this blogger back in 2002!

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