Republicans See Opening To Ask Court To Void More Campaign Limits

The Wall Street Journal

Brody Mullins, Jess Bravin & Patrick O’Connor

April 4, 2014

Supreme Court’s Conservatives Suggest They Might Strike Down All Curbs on Donations to Candidates

Republican officials and their allies, reviewing Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance, say they now have ammunition for additional challenges to restrictions on political contributions and may press to strike down all limits on donations to candidates and political parties.

Motivated by the ruling in their favor, GOP lawyers and conservative advocates are discussing whether to bring lawsuits that would seek to permit companies and labor unions to donate directly to candidates for Congress and the White House; allow the Republican and Democratic parties to accept unlimited donations; and raise the current $10,000 cap on yearly donations to state political parties.

“The political parties are going to take a hard look at some of the more extreme provisions of [the campaign-finance rules] to see if those provisions can withstand review” by the court, said Bobby Burchfield, a longtime GOP campaign-finance lawyer.

The court on Wednesday struck down a longstanding $123,200 cap on what any individual can give in aggregate to federal candidates and political committees over a two-year period. The ruling didn’t address limits on donations to candidates and political parties, and those caps remain intact. The Republican National Committee and Alabama businessman Shaun McCutcheon brought the lawsuit that yielded the court ruling.