-By Ian Millhiser
February 19, 2013- The Supreme Court’s election-buying decision in Citizens United v. FEC enabled wealthy corporations to spend unlimited money to change the course of American elections, and a subsequent lower court decision gave the green light to super PACs funded by unlimited donations from millionaires, billionaires and corporations. Today, the Supreme Court announced it would hear another case — brought by none other than the Republican National Committee — that would go even further towards transforming American democracy into the Wild West.
Despite recent election-buying decisions permitting unlimited donations to super PACs and other groups that exist independently of campaigns and political parties, federal law still limits individual donations to candidates and to the parties themselves. In the next election cycle, these limits include a $2,600 cap on individual donations to a single candidate, and an overall limit of $123,200 in contributions to candidates, political party committees and similar organizations. The Republican Party’s lawsuit seeks to eliminate most of these limits on election-buying — most importantly, by removing the $123,200 cap on total contributions.