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McCutcheon v. FEC Poses Another Threat to Democracy

U.S. Supreme Court Ruling: as Damaging as Citizens United

On Oct. 8, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, in which GOP donor Shaun McCutcheon and the Republican National Committee challenged limits on the cumulative total of contributions a person may make to candidates, political parties and political action committees.

On April 2, 2014, the court struck a huge blow to democracy by striking down aggregate contribution limits. Read our statement.

Read our fact sheet explaining the implications of McCutcheon.

Public Citizen also worked with allies to mobilize activists around the country to hold rallies, protests and other events on the day the McCutcheon ruling was handed down. The events range from press conferences and rallies to petition drives, to be held in cities including Baltimore, Md.; Chicago, Ill.; Denver, Colo.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Houston, Texas; Los Angeles, Calif.; New York, N.Y.; San Diego, Calif.; Seattle, Wash.; and Washington, D.C. Learn about the events.

Meet some of the activists.

As in Citizens United, we were part of the legal team representing lawmakers who filed an amicus brief in McCutcheon. In the brief, we argued that striking down the aggregate contribution limits would lead to solicitations for candidates of hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars, creating the opportunity for transactions exchanging contributions for anticipated political favors from officeholders. The Supreme Court’s decisions have never applied strict First Amendment scrutiny to campaign contribution limitations, and the court has upheld every federal contribution limit it has ever reviewed, including aggregate limits, as a constitutional means of preventing corruption or its appearance.