SCOTUS takes hard line against soft campaign contributions


Just when it seemed like the Supreme Court was going to go full throttle when it comes to allowing cash into the political process, it upheld a key provision in the much-challenged McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. It turned down arguments from the Republican National Committee that it should be able to reap unlimited campaign contributions.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court overturned about 100 years worth of campaign law in freeing up political spending by corporations and unions in the Citizens United case.

The vote to keep the ban on soft money in place was 6-3, with Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissenting.

Fred Wertheimer of elections watchdog Democracy 21 said, “This is an extremely important victory that stops the recent serious erosion by the Supreme Court of the nation’s campaign finance laws. The decision is a major victory for those who support anti-corruption laws to protect the integrity of our elections and our government. Contribution limits have served as the core provisions in the nation’s campaign finance laws to prevent the corruption of government decisions and federal officeholders.”

Wertheimer continued, “Today’s decision leaves the soft money ban firmly in place and makes clear that limits on contributions to federal candidates and political parties are a constitutional means to prevent government corruption.”

RBR-TVBR observation: The thought had occurred to us that current efforts to apply legislative patches to the law as it was changed by the Court’s earlier Citizens United ruling, if they ever succeed, would last only as long as it takes to get them back in front of this same Court. Now it would seem that we can’t be so sure.