2014 Archives

McCutcheon v. FEC won’t have ‘tremendous impact,’ SMU professor says


The following is from the April 9, 2014, edition of The Washington Examiner. SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson provided expertise for this story.

April 10, 2014

DALLAS (Legal Newsline) – A recent Supreme Court opinion abolishing aggregate political contribution limits will not have a “tremendous impact” on the Texas political landscape, says one political science professor.

While critics such as Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, are calling McCutcheon v. the Federal Ethics Commission a blow to Democracy, Cal Jillson, a professor of political science at Southern Methodist University, points out that wealthy donors, prior to the ruling, were already able to give millions in support of their preferred candidate by donating to super PACs.

On April 2, the high court’s conservative justices banded together in a 5-4 vote in the case of McCutcheon v. FEC, ruling that donors, under the First Amendment, have the right to give the legal maximum to as many federal candidates and political committees as they see fit.

The donation limit of $2,600 to a single candidate still stands, meaning the ruling solely focused on aggregate amounts.

“I’m sure a $2,600 donation will be appreciated, but it’s not enough to buy the candidate,” Jillson said. “I don’t think (the ruling) will fundamentally change the political landscape. The candidates already have access to all the funds they need to make their case.”

Read the full story.

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