The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of McCutcheon, allowing for individuals to donate unlimited amounts of money to federal political campaigns. Campaign finance reform was "dying a long, horrible death and the U.S. Supreme Court put it out of its misery," says Brad Bannon, with Bannon Communications Research in Washington, D.C.
The Sons of Citizens United gave corporations the right to contribute unlimited amounts of money to political campaigns and when Shaun McCutcheon, a rich Alabama businessman, saw this, he thought that people deserve those same rights. That decision opened the door to the incredibly high volume of negative attack ads that ran in 2012, because it allowed companies to spend unlimited amounts of money.
There are lots of people like McCutcheon with vast fortunes wanting to contribute to Republican candidates and up until now, there was a limit of $123,000 that any individual could contribute to federal campaigns in a two year cycle. Today, the Court said that limit was unconstitutional because it violated McCutcheon's First Amendment rights to free speech, Bannon says. This fall, there will be a lot more attack ads because there will be a lot more Republican donors now free to donate an unlimited amount of money.
The previous Court said voters have a First Amendment right to free speech and if people and corporations are spending an unlimited amount of money, they would be drowning out the free speech rights of ordinary Americans. This Court didn't accept that argument and rejected it outright, Bannon says.
Brad Bannon is President of Bannon Communications Research, a Washington, D.C.-based political polling and consulting firm. More information can be found at www.bannoncr.com. This video commentary was hosted by The Legal Broadcast Network, which provides on-demand legal content. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.