Advocates of campaign finance reform reacted with dismay to Wednesday’s decision by the Supreme Court to strike down an overall limit on donations to federal candidates in an election cycle.
The ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission kept in place limits on donations to individual candidates but lifted the limit on the total amount one person can give to all candidates.
U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel, D-Bronx, objected to the idea that donations are protected as free speech.
“The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down federal limits on campaign contributions will continue to diminish the voice of the electorate,” he said. “Our ballot boxes are not for sale, nor should our democracy be at the mercy of the special interests who have the financial means to advocate for their narrow agenda.”
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said the decision “opens the door to corruption.
“I am deeply disappointed by today’s decision to strike down aggregate contribution limits in our federal campaign finance laws,” he said. “The majority decision ignores both the Court’s own precedent and common sense regarding the corrupting influence of unlimited contributions to parties or candidates if they are spread across different committees. Campaign finance laws protect the integrity and fairness of elections and help ensure that everyone—not just the wealthy or powerful corporations—are represented in our system of government. Together with Citizens United, this decision guts our campaign finance system and opens the door to corruption by handing a small minority of wealthy individuals the power to exercise undue influence over our government. The flood of money into our elections, which will only increase following this decision, will increase cynicism about government, reduce confidence among average voters that their voices matter, and undermine the legitimacy of our democracy.”