Bauer on Hasen on McCutcheon, Circumvention and Aggregate Limits

Bob Bauer:

Rick Hasen has joined others in arguing that, if in McCutcheon the Supreme Court were to strike down the aggregate limit on political contributions, the large individual donor would be able to amass undesirable influence by donating to joint fundraising committees organized by candidates and parties. The money distributed through those committees is governed by limits—$2600 per participating candidate, etc.—but when first given to the joint fundraising committee, the total donated might be massive, in the millions, and the parties and candidates who would divide it up later could be insidiously grateful to the donor.

If the aggregate limit is a means of enforcing the base limits and blocking circumvention, it raises the question: how effective does an anti-circumvention measure have to be to prevail in a test of the provision’s constitutionality? In the case of the aggregate limit, the inquiry leads quickly to a consideration of a new fact of campaign finance—the super PACs.



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