Supreme Court strikes down aggregate contribution limit; threatens Rhode Island cap

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  • Dale Eisman

Supreme Court strikes down aggregate contribution limit, further eroding restricts on money in politics

Today the Roberts Court struck another blow against common sense limits on money in our elections. McCutcheon vs. FEC eliminates federal aggregate limits on donations. “Thanks to the Supreme Court the role of the largest donors is magnified in our political system” says John Marion, executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island.Thanks to today’s decision, a politician can solicit from a single donor a $3.6 million check for party committees and federal candidates, consigning to background noise the hundreds of millions of Americans who can’t afford to give more than $5, $10 or even $100 to parties or the candidates of their choice.

“While only applying to federal races now, it is a matter of time before the Rhode Island aggregate contribution limit of $10,000 to candidates, party committees and PACs is challenged,” Marion continues. “Rhode Island is one of nine states that limits the total amount that can be contributed in a year, and we expect that limit to be challenged and fall under this decision.” Marion cites a study by the National Institute on Money in State Politics that details the aggregate limits in Rhode Island. The study reveals that among the nine states with such limits, Rhode Island is one of only four that also include contributions to PACs and party committees as part of the aggregate total.