Report: Reclaiming Our Democracy

McCutcheon Money

The Projected Impact of Striking Aggregate Contribution Limits
Released by: CoPIRG

This term, the Supreme Court is considering a challenge to aggregate contribution limits in a case called McCutcheon v. FEC. The current limit on what one person may contribute to all federal candidates, parties and PACs is $123,200. Absent this limit, one wealthy donor would be permitted to contribute more than $3.5 million to a single party’s candidates and party committees (plus a virtually unlimited amount to supportive PACs).

Under current case law, the Supreme Court should uphold aggregate contribution limits as a decades-old protection against corruption, the appearance of corruption, and circumvention of base contribution limits.

But the Roberts Court has been willing to toss precedent aside to gut campaign finance laws in the past. So it’s worth asking, what would be the practical effect if the Court strikes a federal contribution limit for the first time?

Elizabeth Ridlington and Miles Unterreiner of Frontier Group and Robert Hiltonsmith of Demos helped with data analysis for this report.

Support us

Your tax-deductible donation supports CoPIRG Foundation's work to educate the public on the issues that matter, especially when powerful special interests are blocking progress.

Learn More

You can also support CoPIRG Foundation’s work through bequests, contributions from life insurance or retirement plans, securities contributions and vehicle donations.