*** 10:16 am *** This may get lost in the shuffle because of the gun ruling, but it could greatly impact congressional and US Senate races throughout the country…
The Supreme Court has struck down the “millionaire’s amendment” as an unfair way to help opponents of wealthy candidates who spend from their personal fortunes.
The law allows candidates to receive larger contributions when their wealthy opponents spend heavily from their personal fortunes.
The court says by a 5-4 vote that the law violates the First Amendment.
The law was challenged by Jack Davis, a New York Democrat who has so far spent nearly $4 million of his own money in two losing campaigns for Congress and says he will spend another $3 million this year.
The majority overturned both the contribution limits for opponents of affluent candidates and a requirement that millionaires report every $10,000 expenditure within 24 hours. [emphasis added[
At least 24 House candidates have triggered the millionaires’ amendment this cycle. Of those, 10 remain active — while others either lost a primary or dropped out.
In the Senate, at least four candidates had triggered the amendment by April, two of whom are still active.
*** 10:26 am *** The ruling can be viewed at this link.
* From the opinion…
This Court has never upheld the constitutionality of a law that imposes
different contribution limits for candidates competing against each other, and it agrees with Davis that this scheme impermissibly burdens his First Amendment right to spend his own money for campaign speech… While BCRA does not impose a cap on a
candidate’s expenditure of personal funds, it imposes an unprecedented penalty on any candidate who robustly exercises that First Amendment right, requiring him to choose between the right to engage in unfettered political speech and subjection to discriminatory fundraising limitations. The resulting drag on First Amendment rights is not constitutional simply because it attaches as a consequence of a statutorily imposed choice.
*** 10:43 am *** And here’s the Court’s message to Congress…
If the normally applicable limits on individual contributions and coordinated party contributions are seriously distorting the electoral process, if they are feeding a “public perception that wealthy people can buy seats in Congress,” and if those limits are not needed in order to combat corruption, then the obvious remedy is to raise or eliminate those limits. But the unprecedented step of imposing different contribution and coordinated party expenditure limits on candidates vying for the same seat is antithetical to the First Amendment.