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Patricia O'Connell
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Michael Toner Comments on McCutcheon v. FEC Supreme Court Ruling

Financial Times
April 8, 2014

The Financial Times quoted Michael E. Toner, co-chair of Wiley Rein’s Election Law & Government Ethics Practice, in an April 3rd article on the recent ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States in McCutcheon v. FEC striking down the aggregate cap on how much individuals can contribute to federal candidates and committees each election cycle.

The article noted that the post-Watergate political arena of strict campaign donation restrictions is changing, thereby increasing wealthy campaign donors’ power of the purse in upcoming elections. The Supreme Court’s decision in McCutcheon declared unconstitutional the longstanding aggregate limit on how much money individuals can contribute to federal candidates and committees collectively each election cycle. However, the McCutcheon case did not affect the base contribution limits that apply to each federal committee, including the current $2600 per election limit on how much individuals can contribute to federal candidates.

With the aggregate contribution limit invalidated in McCutcheon, individuals are now free to make contributions to as many federal candidates and committees as they would like, subject to the base contribution limit that applies to each recipient committee.  As a result, Mr. Toner predicted that “tens of millions” of additional funds may be raised by federal candidates and the national political parties.

“If I can put together some high net worth individuals in Silicon Valley, Wall Street and the like, then you have the ability to raise some serious coin,” Mr. Toner added.