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April 4, 2014

The Untold Truth About the McCutcheon Decision

We proudly filed a brief in the Supreme Court's McCutcheon case. The Court ruled in favor of McCutcheon on Wednesday, a victory you helped secure.


In fact, it's the latest in a string of victories in the area of campaign finance.


You're going to hear a lot of misreporting and bad analysis about McCutcheon. I've already seen it. You'd think raping babies was just legalized, given all the hysterical shrieking.


Like Citizens United before it, the shrieking needs to be misleading to work. The exaggeration and outright lying has already begun. The ever-shrill Common Cause alleged that, The Supreme Court just…


  • gaveled in a new era of political corruption

  • made it easier to bribe politicians


The truth is, the McCutcheon decision was actually pretty mundane.


Before McCutcheon, an individual could donate only…


  • $2,600 to individual candidates

  • $32,400 to national party committees

  • $5,000 to political action committees


After McCutcheon, that same person could donate only…


  • $2,600 to individual candidates

  • $32,400 to national party committees

  • $5,000 to political action committees


Oh the humanity!


What ACTUALLY changed is the total amount that an individual could contribute in a political season. Before McCutcheon those caps were…


  • $48,600 to all candidates

  • $74,600 to all PACs and parties

  • For a total of $123,200


After McCutcheon, there is no cap.


The hysterical bawling about this decision is that now the rich will have more influence over elections… As if they didn't have this influence already, under the silly, incumbent-protecting laws we've had since 1972!


But this Common Cause led bluster doesn't make sense…


The individual contribution limits remain the same! Does anyone honestly believe that a mere $2,600 contribution is going to swing a federal election?


If not, then how much more “king-making” power has been granted to wealthy individual donors, now capable of giving to 20 or more candidates, when before this week, they could only give to 18 1/2?  


Some will argue that there's too much money in politics, and that these additional donations make that problem worse. To them, I recommend the article below.


As for the McCutcheon decision, this was a 5-4 victory. It was another step forward in a fight we've been waging for 14 years!  


Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a concurring opinion with the majority. For years, he's been the leading voice in defense of the First Amendment. He argued that the Buckley v Valeo distinction, between expenditures and contributions, should be overturned. And that's what we argued in the brief you funded.


But since our loss in McConnell decision (2003), we've had victories in Wisconsin Right to Life I and II, Citizens United, Van Hollen, and now McCutcheon that are unraveling these establishment protection schemes. And that's why we consider this a victory.


We will, with your support, remain in the fight.


You can read the brief we filed here:


You can read the decision here:  


And you can support our continued efforts in the Courts here:


Jim Babka


Downsize DC Foundation


Money Isn't Speech

by James Wilson and Perry Willis


The Supreme Court has ruled in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission…


  • Contributions to individual candidates remain limited, but…

  • The total of combined contributions to individual candidates is no longer capped

  • Combined limits violate the freedom of speech


But those who favor campaign finance limits cry foul, under the slogan…


Money isn't speech.


After all…


The machine through which Stephen Hawking speaks clearly required no money to build or program. It never needs maintenance. It just magically appeared and will run forever.


Extend the reasoning…


“Money isn't religion.” No church needs money to function.


“Money isn't the press.” It costs nothing to publish books, magazines, and newspapers.


“Money isn't assembly.” No one ever pays rent on a meeting space.


Here’s the truth…


The Statists could repeal the entire First Amendment simply by forbidding anyone to spend money on speech, religion, press, or assembly.


The slave cannot earn or spend as he or she chooses. But a free person can. Which do you want to be?


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