Last week the Supreme Court threw open the doors to even more money in politics. The McCutcheon decision eliminates aggregate campaign donation limits (previously set at $123,000). It builds on the Citizens United decision making it still easier for super wealthy individuals and interests to purchase elected offices.
The lawyers representing McCutheon cited, among the top reasons for their victory, the amicus brief of Mitch McConnell, which they called “extraordinarily helpful.” [link]
McConnell has a long history with campaign finance — early in his career he began to focus on the issue and once in the Senate made it his central expertise. (He’s led 20 filibusters to stop various campaign finance bills). This work to loosen the bowels of the big money sphincter helped propel McConnell to the Republican minority leadership. Last week’s Supreme Court decision has been hailed as “McConnell’s Triumph.” [link]
Over his now almost 30 year Senate career, McConnell’s views on campaign finance have changed in some considerable ways.
- Once upon a time, McConnell was opposed to “dark money.”
- Once upon a time, McConnell was in favor of shutting out Super PACs.
- Once upon a time, McConnell was even in favor of aggregate limits.
As McConnell’s views have ‘evolved’, so too have the dynamics of the American electorate — and looking forward, those changes are likely to continue. As demographics swing, voting patterns are likely to go with them, making massive amounts of campaign money even more important to controlling elections. We all have one vote, but we don’t all have a million (or a billion) dollars.
In the video below, Mitch McConnell says, “He who crafts the rules, controls the game.” And right now, Mitch McConnell is clearly crafting the rules.
Joe Sonka, LEO/FatLip, 10/13: The case of McConnell vs. McConnell on campaign finance regulation
Zaid Jilani, RepublicReport, 3/14: In 1991, Mitch McConnell Opposed Dark Money — While Openly Supporting Lower Voter Turnout
- Mitch McConnell currently trails his Democratic opponent, with a new poll affirming the previous ones, putting Grimes 1% point ahead. [link]
- Mitch McConnell is less popular than President Obama in the state of Kentucky. [link]
- Eight in ten of voters were opposed to the Citizens United decision — 85% of Democrats, 76% of Republicans and 81% of independents. [link]
- Just 16% of Americans believe limits on total contributions to candidates are a violation of free speech rights, and 64% say they are not. [link]
- Half of all Americans support publicly financed elections. [link]
- 58% of Americans says we need new campaign finance laws. [link]
- 60% of Americans wouls support “a federal law that imposes tough, new campaign finance laws for politicians, lobbyists and super PACs.” And 72% would support “tough, new anti-corruption laws.” [link]