Thursday, April 3, 2014

Conyers Criticizes Supreme Court Ruling As Another Blow to Democracy

(ANN ARBOR) – Today, in a 5-4 ruling, the United States Supreme Court ruled in McCutcheon v. FEC that the aggregate limits imposed on campaign contributions through the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 are invalid under the First Amendment. Since significant First Amendment interests were at stake in this case, the Court held that the aggregate limits imposed by Congress on campaign contributions do not further the permissible government interest in preventing quid pro quo corruption or the appearance of corruption. After the ruling, today Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) released this statement:

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
“Today, America’s electoral integrity suffered a second blow by the Roberts Court as their ruling in McCutcheon v. FEC was issued, striking down limits on overall campaign contribution from individual donors. In 2002, Congress passed the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act to eliminate the ability of wealthy donors to contribute millions of dollars to political parties - over the voices and votes of those who cannot financially flood the electoral system. Until today, the courts had consistently upheld that the contribution limits and aggregate limits were permissible tools in Congress’s arsenal to fight the actuality or appearance of corruption. However, the decision in McCutcheon v. FEC will  dangerously impact Congress’s ability to protect the electoral process from corruption,” said Conyers.

“In past rulings, the Courts have always struck a balance between Congress’s authority to place limits on campaign contributions and the constitutional notion that contributions are speech. However, over the last decade, our nation’s campaign finance laws have been under attack by those who seek to unleash unlimited contributions in our political system.  Since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, the confidence of the America people has been impaired, necessitating Congress determine how to best protect equal access to our political system.  The Supreme Court’s ruling today removes the deference that was traditionally left by the Court for Congress to protect its interest in preventing corruption.

“This is a government by the people and for the people, not just the privileged few. The Supreme Court’s decision today will increase the power of a small set of wealthy donors who seek to determine the outcome of our elections system.”  
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