McCutcheon: The Case That Only Impacts 1,200 People?

McCutcheon v. FEC, the case to be argued on Tuesday, concerns the constitutionality of aggregate limits. Only about 1200 people last cycle came close to the aggregate limit threshold (then $117,000): this case will decide whether they will be able to give unlimited millions, directly.

I am on the Public Campaign Action Fund Board. Public Campaign has an important report, profiling the people directly impacted. Here are some of the key facts:

–> Nearly half live in the richest one percent of neighborhoods.
–>Twenty-eight percent come from Wall Street and the financial sector.
–> Only 24 — TOTAL — live in neighborhoods that are majority African American or Hispanic

One thing to watch for in the McCutcheon argument: how do members of the Court see the relevant people in this case? Do they see this as a case about the speech rights of 1200 people, or about the nature of the public’s relationship to public officials? And how do they try to describe the impact on the rest of political society when 1200 people can give millions directly to candidates in order to influence their policies?


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