By Bradley A. Smith
…Under the Federal Election Campaign Act, an individual can contribute up to $2,600 to a candidate’s campaign, but only up to a total of $48,600. This means an individual who, for example, wants to help every Republican in a competitive House race with a maximum contribution can’t do it — he’ll be able to support just 18 candidates to the legal max.
Plaintiff Shaun McCutcheon is trying to figure out why this is so. If the first 18 candidates aren’t corrupted by his contribution, what is so different about candidate No. 19? Or 20? or 100? He thinks the First Amendment ought to allow him to associate with as many candidates as he likes, and to spread his message as far as he can.
The Republican party, another plaintiff in the case, raises the same issue about party committees: The law limits an individual to contributing $32,400 to a national political party committee and $5,000 to a PAC, but also imposes an overall limit of $74,600 on all such contributions. So an individual can give the maximum legal contribution to the RNC, and to the Republican Senatorial Committee, but if he does so, he can’t give the otherwise legal maximum to the Republican Congressional Committee. I guess that’s okay if you think it’s more important that Republicans win the Senate than that they keep the House…