- A Hoover man who took his to the U.S. Supreme Court today lauded the as a victory for free political speech.
Shaun McCutcheon, the owner of in McCalla, said today's Supreme Court ruling reaffirms the rights of people to financially support as many candidates for federal office as they like.
McCutcheon and the Republican National Committee in June 2012 sued the Federal Elections Commission over the federal law that prohibited McCutcheon from contributing more than a combined amount of ,200 to multiple federal candidates and ,800 to federal political action committees and political party committees in the 2011-12 campaign cycle.
That aggregate cap on donations, which changes based on inflation, stood at ,600 for donations to multiple candidates and ,600 to federal PACs and political party committees for the current election cycle.
Today's Supreme Court ruling left intact the cap of ,600 per election that a contributor may give to any single candidate for federal office, but eliminated the aggregate cap on donations to multiple candidates, PACs or political party committees.Shaun McCutcheon
"Obviously, I'm very happy, very excited. This is wonderful," McCutcheon said today by phone from Tennessee, where he was working on a job. "It guarantees a fundamental free speech constitutionally guaranteed First Amendment right of people outside of government being able to spend our money on as many political candidates and PACs as we choose."
McCutcheon said he understands the need for some base limits on the dollar amount of contributions to individual candidates, but limits on donations to multiple candidates, parties and committees are nothing more than unnecessary limits to First Amendment freedom.
"It's extremely crucial and extremely important in a free society that political speech be as free as it can be," McCutcheon said. "I see it bringing more money into politics. It allows private individuals to delve more into campaigns ... It's going to allow more competition in the electoral marketplace and marketplace of ideas."
The impact should take effect immediately, with the current election campaigns, McCutcheon said. He for one will be increasing his campaign spending this year, he said. "After all this, you better believe I will," he said. "It's been a long wait."
McCutcheon said that, under previous campaign finance limits, he already had maxed out on giving to the Republican National Convention. Now, he'll be able to give more to the Republicans and to additional candidates with whom he agrees, he said.
"We continue to chip away at the long entrenched status quo from the grassroots - a status quo that has kept challengers, better ideas, and new entrants to the political arena mostly locked out," McCutcheon said in a . "Ensuring that citizens are able to contribute to multiple candidates or causes who share their views only provides further support to a system in which 'We the People' hold the ultimate reins of power."
The June 2012 challenge by McCutcheon and the Republican National Committee to the federal campaign law and an advisory opinion by the Federal Elections Commission initially was heard by a special three-judge panel specifically designated to hear challenges to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. The panel in September 2012 issued a ruling, calling the biennial aggregate limits constitutional.
McCutcheon and the Republican National Committee appealed the case directly to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in October of last year.
McCutcheon said he was surprised the ruling came out today because he had begun to believe Washington insiders who were telling him it likely would be June before a ruling was issued.
McCutcheon also plans in the next few days to release a book he's been writing about the legal challenge, called "Outsider Inside the Supreme Court." The book already was mostly done, but a writer is helping him complete the finishing touches now that the ruling has come out, he said.
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