Statement by Bob Edgar on Supreme Court decision to hear arguments in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission

“This is an unsettling day for those of us who believe our laws ought to provide more protection – not less — against the corrupting influence of money in our elections and the workings of our government.

“In Citizens United and a line of other cases, the Roberts court has moved steadily toward an anything-goes approach to money in politics. The case it has agreed to hear today invites the court to go farther down that path by lifting the longstanding aggregate limit on contributions by individuals in each election cycle.

“Should the plaintiffs prevail, this case could give a relative handful of wealthy Americans an even greater opportunity than they already have to buy access and influence. The answer to the flood of money in our politics is not ‘more money.’

“Today’s action underscores the need for a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United and permitting Congress and our state legislatures to impose reasonable limits on individual and corporate political spending. Millions of Americans voted for such an amendment in referendums last fall, millions more have spoken for it through actions by their city councils and state legislators. It’s time for Congress to act and send an amendment to the states for ratification.”

Background for reporters

McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission is a challenge to federal law that now puts a $123,200 limit on the total amount an individual may donate to federal candidates, political parties and political action committees (not Super PACs) in each election cycle. On paper, it would not disturb the $2,500 limit on donations to a single candidate, but it would permit a donor to skirt that limit by giving up to $1.194 million to a national party organization, which then would be free to spend the funds on one or more of its candidates.