Supreme Court’s Campaign Finance Case Gets New Firepower

USA Today

Richard Wolf

August 30, 2013

The Supreme Court has granted Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell oral argument time in a major campaign finance case being heard in early October, giving opponents of current contribution limits new firepower.

McConnell is the nation’s leading opponent of campaign finance restrictions, who lost his effort to defeat the McCain-Feingold law’s limits on corporate and union donations a decade ago but won the Citizens United case in 2010 that freed corporations to spend unlimited amounts independently on elections.

By allowing McConnell to take some of the precious 30 minutes his side will have to make its case, the court on Friday further assured that the case will take on the aura of those two previous cases — pitting Republican-aligned backers of unlimited spending against Democratic-aligned groups that want to reduce the influence of money in elections.

The case is being brought by Alabama millionaire Shaun McCutcheon, a Republican businessman who objects to the overall limits federal regulations place on campaign donations. Donors can give a maximum of $123,200 every two years to federal candidates, political parties and political action committees.

McConnell will be represented at the court by Bobby Burchfield, a trial partner at McDermott Will & Emery. In the past, the Senate leader has used famed First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams, who argued the Citizens United case, James Bopp, who pulled most of the strings and then argued a later case involving Wisconsin Right to Life; and Kenneth Starr, the former solicitor general and federal appeals court judge whose investigation of the Monica Lewinsky affair led to President Bill Clinton’s impeachment.