By Ian Millhiser
Citizens United v. FEC gave corporations unlimited ability to spend money on elections, so long as these attempts to buy elections did not involve direct contributions to a candidate. Shortly thereafter, a lower court ushered in the era of super PACs.
To date, however, the courts have left federal limits on contributions directly to candidates or political parties largely unmolested. Under federal law, individual donations to candidates are limited to $2,500 per candidate, per election, and total contributions to candidates, political party committees and similar organizations are limited to $117,000 every two years. Thus, GOP billionaire Sheldon Adelson can currently give tens of millions of dollars to groups trying to elect Republicans that are separate from the Republican Party, but there remains a cap on how much he can give the GOP directly.
A lawsuit brought by the Republican National Committee now wants to eliminate most of these modest restrictions on election buying, and eliminate the $117,000 cap on donations by people like Adelson.
Moreover, because of a federal law that requires the Supreme Court to hear certain campaign finance cases, the Supreme Court is now almost certain to take the case — potentially handing the Republican Party their biggest Supreme Court victory since Citizens United.
Via Diane Owens