Power to the people

Campaign finance ruling gives citizens greater political influence

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This newspaper supports political candidates through editorial endorsements. That’s our First Amendment right to free speech, expression and association. And it doesn’t change if we endorse one candidate or 100.

The Supreme Court wisely ruled that those same freedoms apply to you when you support political candidates through financial contributions.

Wednesday’s 5-4 decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Elections Commission makes it unconstitutional to limit the total amount of your campaign contributions.

“The government may no more restrict how many candidates or causes a donor may support than it may tell a newspaper how many candidates it may endorse,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority.

The ruling repeals 1970s-era laws capping an individual’s total contributions to multiple candidates and political action committees for federal races at $123,200. The limits for individual candidates are still set at $5,200 every two years.

The changes mean an individual donor will now be able to contribute up to $3.6 million per election cycle – the sum of maximum donations to all national and state party committees and a party’s presidential and congressional candidates.

The case was brought by Shaun McCutcheon, an Alabama businessman who was limited in the number of candidates he could support because of the overall cap for individuals.

Due to the case’s conservative genesis, liberals decried the ruling as giving the “rich” more power and influence over Washington. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the decision “only serves to widen the floodgates of special-interest spending.”

That’s bunk.

First, it should go without saying everyone is entitled to free speech, no matter how rich or poor. The First Amendment doesn’t guarantee an even playing field – just the equal opportunity to speak, associate and engage in political activity.

Second, speech and money are inextricably bound in politics. It takes money to run a campaign. Restricting a candidate’s ability to raise or spend money is restricting his or her ability to reach the public.

Finally, conservative donors do not corner the market; big money flows both ways. In fact, a close look at campaign contributions reveals an inconvenient truth: Most high-dollar donors are liberals.

An analysis by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics shows that 14 of the top 25 political donors since 1989 are Democrat-leaning groups (13 are labor unions). Of the rest, eight are bipartisan and only three lean Republican.

Apparently, what the left really despises about the ruling is that conservatives can now engage in large-scale political activity once dominated exclusively by Big Labor.

That’s largely the same reason for the outrage over 2010’s Citizens United ruling, which paved the way for the creation of super PACs and the proliferation of nonprofit advocacy groups engaged in campaigns.

As with many issues, the left’s hypocrisy over campaign contributions is near blinding. Liberals enjoy casting conservatives such as Charles and David Koch as sinister political puppeteers while limousine liberals such as billionaires George Soros and Tom Steyer get a pass.

Liberals’ message? Our rich people “good.” Your rich people “bad.”

Regardless of the rhetoric, the fact is relatively few individuals hit their limit. In 2012, the Center for Responsive Politics said only 2,972 donors maxed out to committees, and only 591 maxed out to candidates. Just 646 hit the limit on both.

The vast majority of contributions to candidates and political parties are small donations from everyday Americans totalling $100 or less.

If anything, McCutcheon tips the balance of power toward individual interests, giving citizens greater ability to influence elections instead of funneling money to collective, corporate or union interests.

That’s something we all should celebrate, regardless of ideology.

Comments (38) Add comment
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carcraft
28588
Points
carcraft 04/07/14 - 04:34 am
7
2
Harry Reid gave $17,000.00

Harry Reid gave $17,000.00 dollars to his granddaughter from his campaign funds as a "gift ". It appears that the prior campaign laws did nothing to change corrupt money in politics.

Bizkit
35740
Points
Bizkit 04/07/14 - 06:19 am
4
2
I remember reading a

I remember reading a Huffington post article how Obama had the best funding raising ability in history-something like one and a half billion dollars he raised. I'm sure Obama will be happy because of "fairness" and support this ruling-he would be a hypocrite otherwise.

ymnbde
10752
Points
ymnbde 04/07/14 - 06:29 am
4
2
the highest donors are the ivy league, who may not give cash

but serve as a training ground for socialist thought
and hollywood, who donates cash, and makes corporations and any enemy of big government seem evil
and public education, who donates cash and makes corporations and Republicans and any enemy of big government seem evil
and the liberal media, who donate cash and serve as a marketing and damage control service for socialist thought and the democratic party
he's got the training ground, the entertainment industry, the people educating our children, and the people lip syncing our news on his side
and actual money is small in the grand scheme of things

effete elitist liberal
3191
Points
effete elitist liberal 04/07/14 - 07:10 am
5
7
Welcome Masters guests!

Visiting readers of this newspaper's opinion pieces and letters to the editor surely will detect a common theme: most are aggressively conservative!
Most all are written by local Southern white men. The AC's owner is an old, very wealthy white man. His paid editorial editor is a relatively young white man imported from Kansas, whose op-eds, like today's, are filled with half truths and smug self-assurance. Today's two printed letters-to-the-editor come from two regulars to these pages, two white men who are very old, very angry, and very paranoid.
So enjoy the golf and the azaleas, but unless you want to live in a rabidly Right Wing political echo chamber, you might consider retiring somewhere else....

corgimom
38717
Points
corgimom 04/07/14 - 07:23 am
2
7
What EEL said. I was hoping

What EEL said.

I was hoping that they would tone it down for the Masters' visitors, so Augusta wouldn't come off looking like a backwards, hick city, but to no avail.

They are going to read this and think "I don't ever want to live in Augusta if this is the way that they think."

But they'll laugh when they read the LTE that suggests our enemies didn't know to attack NYC until Obama said that he was more concerned about a nuclear attack on Manhattan.

It's like a 2014 version of Tobacco Road.

justthefacts
25475
Points
justthefacts 04/07/14 - 07:27 am
9
2
LOL- Master's Guest

As you may have noticed, the above poster doesn't care much for white folk. To put it into golf parlance, that chip on her shoulder should not be considered a loose impediment.

Butterman
3696
Points
Butterman 04/07/14 - 07:39 am
6
6
Here we go again
Unpublished

getting ready for the obligatory LTEs on abortion, homosexuality and the Earth being less than 9,000 years old.

Bizkit
35740
Points
Bizkit 04/07/14 - 07:37 am
5
2
Gosh EEL that is a very

Gosh EEL that is a very biased discriminating statement (and a lot of assuming on your part or do you personally know the gender, age, and details of each individual? ). Funny seems your retort is angry and perhaps from an old angry female progressive. There are conservative newspapers in all fifty states (or 57 if you are Obama hee,hee) because there is diversity in ideology and opinions. There are moderate newspapers too-just not in Augusta.LOL. Golf cuts across the political spectrum so my bet you will have about half agreeing with the paper and half not.

edcushman
7930
Points
edcushman 04/07/14 - 07:42 am
5
2
"Today's two printed
Unpublished

"Today's two printed letters-to-the-editor come from two regulars to these pages, two white men who are very old, very angry, and very paranoid."
eel, for many years the democrats, liberals and black leaders even in many black churches have spread racism among blacks. It has left many black folks 'angry and very paranoid'. Obama and AG Holder are examples of that racism. Obama has done more to harm race relations than any one man in history.

Bizkit
35740
Points
Bizkit 04/07/14 - 09:06 am
4
2
Well the majority of

Well the majority of Americans have issue with evolution-which is very discouraging as an educator. Cause christianity is on the decline it isn't all religious resistance, but it seems a lack of interest by americans in STEM fields so a lack of scientific understanding. Homosexuality and abortion do seem like two sins christians like to pick on more-I suggest get your own house in order cause who isn't without sin can cast the first stone.

edcushman
7930
Points
edcushman 04/07/14 - 07:52 am
8
1
@EEL & corgomom, sorry to
Unpublished

@EEL & corgomom, sorry to disappoint you but I will bet that almost none of the visitors for the Masters will read the opinion section and none will read your on line comments. I am sure it is disappointing that you will not be able to spread your liberal bias and how all old southern white men are racist bigots.

Butterman
3696
Points
Butterman 04/07/14 - 08:18 am
3
3
Anti-Catholic LTEs
Unpublished

It was not all that long ago when we were treated to anti-Catholic LTEs on The Chronicle opinion page. They were actually quite routine. You know the familiar lines about Catholics being "idol worshippers" and all. I am sure visitors who come here on a regular basis, take what they see on the Chronicle editorial page with a big grain of salt.

Bizkit
35740
Points
Bizkit 04/07/14 - 08:30 am
3
2
Well remember it was a big

Well remember it was a big deal to have the first "catholic" president. The times the are a changing.

Butterman
3696
Points
Butterman 04/07/14 - 08:41 am
3
2
Catholics
Unpublished

Bizkit, I remember the barrage of anti-Catholic LTEs as late as the 1990s in The Chronicle. You would have thought it was the 1790s. Again, the Chronicle has discretion of what LTEs they choose to print. They are not obligated to print every opinion from every bigoted crackpot in town, but they routinely do and it makes Augusta look very backward and provincial to the outside world.

deestafford
32185
Points
deestafford 04/07/14 - 08:59 am
6
2
Have EEL and the other resident liberals here..

Have EEL and the other resident liberals here ever thought that our Masters guests look at the ACES as a breath of fresh air objectiveness compared to the pablum coming from the liberal papers of their hometowns?That our guests read the ACES and say, "Finally, someone is writing what I believe---that America is GREAT!"?

seenitB4
98477
Points
seenitB4 04/07/14 - 09:09 am
6
2
Old & white

Dang, that seems to be a curse today....makes me wanta go the French Market Grill & have a cajun martini..

deestafford
32185
Points
deestafford 04/07/14 - 09:10 am
2
2
One of the most misunderstood things about our government...

One of the most misunderstood things about our government is "special interests". I think people misunderstand and deride "special interests" because of the negative press it gets.

We all have special interests whether it is the real estate we own, a hobby we may have, a religious affiliation we may have, a fraternal organization we may belong to, an age group we may fall into, an occupation we may work, etc. We band together and support those things to which we belong and hire/support lobbyists in DC representing our views to the Congress as they pass or considered laws affecting our organization or way or life.

My point is that we are all ''special interests" and the problem is not with "special interests" but with the government sticking its nose into too much of our lives and only through having our special interests in DC do we keep the federal government from running over us more than it does.

As an aside, it is my understanding that the word "lobbyists" started during the Grant administration when politicians would return to the hotel in which they were staying representatives from different groups would confront them with their opinions in the lobby of the hotel. As a result the saying of talking about the people in the lobby was shortened and coined into "lobbyists".

deestafford
32185
Points
deestafford 04/07/14 - 09:12 am
6
2
If it were not for "Old, white men"...

If it were not for "Old, white men" there never would have been an America.

Bizkit
35740
Points
Bizkit 04/07/14 - 09:12 am
2
2
Butterman, Anti-catholicism

Butterman, Anti-catholicism runs the gambit-lots of gays have expressed anti-catholic sentiments. Further the Historic Adventist have expressed it all along the west coast. It isn't related to the South or Augusta but is nationwide.
"In May 2006, a Gallup poll found 57% of Americans had a favorable view of the Catholic faith, while 30% of Americans had an unfavorable view. The Catholic Church's doctrines, and the priest sex abuse scandal were top issues for those who disapproved. "Greed", Roman Catholicism's view on homosexuality, and the celibate priesthood were low on the list of grievances for those who held an unfavorable view of Catholicism.[69] While Protestants and Catholics themselves had a majority with a favorable view, those who are not Christian or are irreligious had a majority with an unfavorable view. In April 2008, Gallup found that the number of Americans saying they had a positive view of U.S. Catholics had shrunk to 45% with 13% reporting a negative opinion. A substantial proportion of Americans, 41%, said their view of Catholics was neutral, while 2% of Americans indicated that they had a "very negative" view of Roman Catholics. However, with a net positive opinion of 32%, sentiment towards Catholics was more positive than that for both evangelical and fundamentalist Christians, who received net-positive opinions of 16 and 10% respectively. Gallup reported that Methodists and Baptists were viewed more positively than Catholics, as were Jews.[70]"

itsanotherday1
48409
Points
itsanotherday1 04/07/14 - 09:37 am
4
1
Bingo edcushman

Yep, somebody comes to town, spending $thousands% on badges, dining, and lodging; and they spend their down time reading the online comments..... Riiiiggghhht.......

ymnbde
10752
Points
ymnbde 04/07/14 - 09:38 am
6
1
eel, you couldn't have more perfectly represented

the dogmatic liberal definition of diversity
if you tried...
diversity excludes the aged and the whited...
and since most of the people looking to retire here
are old and white, and have paid most of the taxes that support
inneffective liberal programs, perhaps you have convinced a few
to stay...
in Columbia county, at least

itsanotherday1
48409
Points
itsanotherday1 04/07/14 - 09:39 am
4
2
I will have to agree with

I will have to agree with butterman about nutty LTE's. From both sides I might add.

rebellious
22034
Points
rebellious 04/07/14 - 09:43 am
5
1
The Poor Masters Visitors

have never been exposed to Conservative or Liberal ideology until they screeched tires on an Augusta Tarmac.........REALLY?

I suspect they know the score, understand free market economics, and capitalism of America better than many who post up here, specifically the Butterman and a certain corrigible Mom. Most assuredly, these opinions do not fall upon virgin ears nor provoke golf fans to gouge out their eyes and run screaming through the halls of their Hotel.

And as a proud American, I need no one to apologize for my stance on liberty, or the suppression thereof, thank you very little.

Riverman1
94245
Points
Riverman1 04/07/14 - 09:43 am
7
3
Guests Are Conservatives

I doubt the guests are offended by the Chronicle editorials. I bet with their demographics you'd be lucky to find one Obama supporter.

justthefacts
25475
Points
justthefacts 04/07/14 - 09:51 am
3
2
Riverman

Bingo!

Bizkit
35740
Points
Bizkit 04/07/14 - 10:25 am
4
2
LOL!! Riverman. You are

LOL!! Riverman. You are likely correct. "Right." hee,hee.

carcraft
28588
Points
carcraft 04/07/14 - 10:30 am
4
2
Corgi, EEL, and Butterman,

Corgi, EEL, and Butterman, relax , soon it will be time for Another nonsensical letter from the local Democratic Party chief to cheer the team on! Oh , but I must admit he is also an old white man! Who would have guessed an old white man would support what you do. It is kinda funny but racial stereo typing doesn't always work out the way we want it to! This old white guy loves Dr. Ben Carson, Herman Cain and Allen West! BWAHAHAHAHA

carcraft
28588
Points
carcraft 04/07/14 - 10:33 am
4
2
Just to make sure I get all

Just to make sure I get all the groups in I also love love of Utah, Palin and Michelle Malkin!

edcushman
7930
Points
edcushman 04/07/14 - 11:11 am
4
2
"Have EEL and the other
Unpublished

"Have EEL and the other resident liberals here ever thought that our Masters guests look at the ACES as a breath of fresh air objectiveness compared to the pablum coming from the liberal papers of their hometowns?That our guests read the ACES and say, "Finally, someone is writing what I believe---that America is GREAT!"?"
Dee, you hit the nail on the head. A majority of the folks coming to Masters is those EVIL corporate people that the community organizer and liberals are always condemning. I kind of hate you spilled the beans, no way the libs would have ever figured it out. I was having a good laugh.

edcushman
7930
Points
edcushman 04/07/14 - 11:31 am
4
2
"This old white guy loves Dr.
Unpublished

"This old white guy loves Dr. Ben Carson, Herman Cain and Allen West! BWAHAHAHAHA"
carcraft, this old white guys agrees and you can add Sen. Tim Scot to the list. I was a BIG fan of Dr. Carson before he embarrassed the community organizer.

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