Today marks one year since the U.S.Supreme Court invalidated limits on the total amount an individual can donate to candidates or political parties in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission (FEC).
As LWVUS president Elisabeth MacNamara stated at the time, in this decision the Court said that big money is worth more than the voices of individual citizens.
The 2014 midterm elections were held just six months after this decision, but the results were dramatic:
- The 2014 midterm elections were the most expensive midterms in U.S. history
- Although the amount of money spent went up, the number of donors actually went down
- A mere 604 individual donors were able to pump $31 million more into the election than if the limits stayed in place—that’s $51,234 more per donor
This isn’t the way democracy is supposed to work. Coupled with the disastrous decision in Citizens United, which led to the rise of SuperPACs by allowing unlimited spending by outside groups, our election system is being taken over by an increasingly small number of wealthy donors and special interests who are trying to buy our politicians.