Campaign Finance Trajectory Clear

When I first heard about today’s McCutcheon v. FEC decision by the Supreme Court (or at least five Justices of the Supreme Court), I thought of the same metaphor that Kevin Drum immediately deployed: a falling domino:

Four years ago, in the Citizens United case, the Supreme Court struck down limits on independent campaign contributions from corporations and unions. Since then, spending by super PACs and shadowy 501c(4) groups has exploded. Today, the Supreme Court continued toward its goal of gutting virtually every existing limit on campaign spending.

Aggregate limits on individual contributions to candidates and political parties were struck down in this decision. But nobody seems to know where the trend will end, other than perhaps Justice Thomas, who called in a concurring opinion for the over-ruling of Buckley v. Valeo, the 1976 decision that validated some federal regulation of campaign contributions.

It’s another fine day to be rich and in love with politics.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.