Federal Politics

Published — October 7, 2013 Updated — August 26, 2014 at 12:05 pm ET

Supreme Court ‘McCutcheon’ case could aid GOP

Republican lawyers urging court to axe aggregate contribution limits

Introduction

Conservatives who made political donations at the legal maximum during the 2012 election far outnumbered liberals, suggesting that if the U.S. Supreme Court eliminates the so-called “aggregate” limit on contributions it will result in more money going to Republican candidates.

The high court will on Tuesday hear oral arguments in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. At issue is whether total donations to multiple candidates and parties should continue to be capped.

About 600 individuals hit the then-$46,200 ceiling for campaign donations to federal candidates during the 2012 election cycle, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics at the request of the Center for Public Integrity.

About 45 percent gave overwhelmingly to Republican politicians, while about 37 percent gave with the same fervor to Democrats. The rest gave to a mix of candidates in both parties.

These “maxed out” donors — who together could fit on just a dozen Greyhound buses — combined to give about $34 million to 975 candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

That was about 1 percent of all money all candidates raised during the two-year election cycle — a percentage that could increase if the Supreme Court axes the aggregate limits.

At the same time, about 1,700 people hit a separate contribution limit on donations to national party committees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which was $70,800 during the 2012 election.

Again, the GOP made out better than Democrats.

About 61 percent gave at least 90 percent of their contributions to Republican groups, while about 37 percent gave at least 90 percent of their money to Democratic organizations.

Only about 2 percent donated some money to a combination of national committees representing each party.

The challenge to the aggregate political contribution limits was brought by Shaun McCutcheon, a businessman and Republican activist from Alabama.

The aggregate contribution limit to candidates — $48,600 for the 2013-2014 election cycle — should not be confused with the “base” limit, which is currently $2,600 per candidate, per election, with a primary and general election counting as separate contests.

There is also a combined limit for giving to parties and political action committees, currently set at $74,600, making the combined overall limit for the current election cycle $123,200.

Limits are indexed to inflation and go up each cycle.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark campaign finance ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in 2010 did not address donations to candidates.

For his part, McCutcheon donated about $35,000 during the 2012 election cycle split among 15 federal candidates, including contributions to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Ohio Republican and U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel and Indiana Republican and U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock.

McCutcheon also contributed about $30,000 to Republican Party committees, including $20,000 to the Alabama Republican Party. He furthermore gave more than $300,000 to two super PAC operations with which he was personally involved.

Who else may join McCutcheon’s ranks in taking advantage of new rules should the high court opt to further loosen the nation’s campaign finance laws?

A Huffington Post report in May identified more than 40 donors who appeared to exceed the aggregate contribution limits during the 2012 election cycle, including hedge fund executive John Canning and Illinois businessman Richard Uihlein, a major donor to conservative causes such as the super PAC of the anti-tax Club for Growth.

Meanwhile, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson — who became a household name during the 2012 election for his deep-pocketed support of GOP super PACs — contributed the legal maximum to the parties and PACs during the 2012 election cycle, according to a Center for Public Integrity review of data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

Additionally, Adelson gave a combined $44,500 — just shy of the then-$46,200 aggregate limit — to 16 Republican candidates including Mitt Romney, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

On the other side of the aisle, media mogul Fred Eychaner is the prime example of a Democratic donor who gave the legal maximum to both candidates and parties during the 2012 election cycle.

Eychaner actually doled out $1,000 more than the legal limit — $47,200 — to 14 Democratic politicians, including President Barack Obama.

After questions from the Center for Public Integrity, Eychaner, who was also the top Democratic donor to super PACs in 2012, pledged to seek a $1,000 refund to comply with the aggregate limit.

Through spokesmen, both Eychaner and Adelson declined to comment for this story.

Ben Wieder contributed to this report.

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SOUTH JERSEYTed SiroisMark SullivanTom LarkinAnonymous Recent comment authors
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Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Trump needs to conduct these activities because the entire MSM media, excluding Fox, is campaigning against him 24/7/365.

Didn’t Monica’s boyfriend’s wife and various criminal enterprises outspend Trump by almost 2-1?

CapitalistRoader
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CapitalistRoader

Why wouldn’t he get an early start on fund raising? Hillary outspent him two-to-one in 2016. The Dem’s are the party of big money. The President knows this and is attempting to get a jump on it. Of course the Dem candidate will outspend him in 2020 so it’s only rational that he starts fund raising now.

George Young
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George Young

Oh brother. We just 8 years of the Campaigner – in – Chief. Where was this journalistic rectal thermometer then. Just another article about 2000 words too long that merely takes another slap at Trump for something he far from initiated.

j stevenson
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j stevenson

The big difference between Trump and all the rest is his refusing to accept funds from lobbyists, so they don’t have the White House access they are used to. These are the donors who buy the presidency and are as pixxed off that he won the election as are the media and the Dems. Lobbyists have never been shut out of the WH and Trump has told them he is not for sale.

jan v
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jan v

all the lobbyists are running all our government agencies and all the career civil servants who know how to run the country have been fired. YOU think this is a good thing ? what a crock…

thomas alessi
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thomas alessi

I am for Trump

Martin Shellabarger
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J. Stevenson, what are you drinking? Trump has more lobbyists in his administration than probably any other president. Trump is totally “for sale”, and the corporations know it. Grow a brain!

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Trump needs to be impeached and tossed in prison. Then have the key thrown away so he will never be free. Then he can see how it feels not to have freedom.

Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Thank you for the usual insightful leftist low IQ Snowflake response.

barney
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hes not imprisoning them hes sending them back to their country chill tf out

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

WHY DONT YOU HAVE FREEDOM?

Tom Larkin
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Tom Larkin

First, something positive. I was happy to learn of empirical information in article. BUT, the article was so slanted against President Trump as to be deemed fake news (“Perhaps Trump just lied.” (Two different issues)). The article mentions that President Trump raised over $67 million, but ended 2018 with $19 million. President Trump spent over $40 million 2016 and 2017. President Trump conducted 57 political rallies. The article notes the hats and T-shirts sold, but NEVER MENTIONS THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS during a mid-term election that lost the House and the number of political rallies in… Read more »

Ted Sirois
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Ted Sirois

At least Trump is getting donations from willing donors. Fresh from his first election, Obama used billions of our children’s tax dollars to save thousands of union jobs in the car industry and bailed out the banks and many Wall Street businesses. This secured his source of reelection funds for his reelection four years later.

South Jersey
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South Jersey

TRUMP 2020; IS AN AMAZINGLY SMART MAN! VERY ORIGINAL & CREATIVE. I AM HAPPY TO HAVE HIS AS POTUS.

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

THIS ARTICLE WAS OBVIOUSLY WRITTEN BY, A TRUMP-HATE-GROUP. THAT FEELS; IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH YOUR OWN BRAND NAME. WHEN, IF FACT, IT IS NORMAL! >>>>> THIS IS >>> FAKE NEWS!!! <<<< ie: A PACK-OF-LIES; SPUN INTO; DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER. FOR A SINISTER-AGENDA OF; FASCIST DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST, COUP D'ETAT

David
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David

Are you on some kind of drugs? Writing in caps makes me think that you are grumpy old fart or a uneducated hillbilly.