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Politics & Government

Supreme Court Decision Raises Roof on Political Contributions

people with large signs saying corporations are not people, money is not speech
Move to Amend

Rallies are being held in Syracuse and across the country today in reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down overall limits on political contributions.  The 5 to 4 ruling in McCutcheon vs. FEC allows a single donor to give up to $3.5 million per election cycle to a political party.  The court’s majority said the previous $123,200 cap violated the First Amendment.  

Chair of the group “Move to Amend” in Syracuse Michael Messina-Yauchzy says the ruling further concentrates political messages based on money:
He’s not alone. Common Cause/NY Executive Director, Susan Lerner expressed similar disappointment and concern over the decision:

"This is a sad week for democracy in New York State and around the country. Following on the heels of Governor Cuomo's failure to pass a robust and effective Fair Elections system in the state budget on Monday, today the U.S. Supreme Court in the McCutcheon decision invited wealthy campaign donors to muzzle the voices of ordinary citizens. Here in New York, we see the corrupting effect of sky-high contribution limits and limitless donations to party committees. Only a full Fair Elections system of comprehensive campaign finance reform with public funding of elections for all states offices, followed ultimately by an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, can begin to address the damage done to our democracy by first Citizens United and now McCutcheon."

Messina-Yauchzy says the ruling also dilutes democracy by allowing the ultra-wealthy to drown out the voices of everyday citizens.  He says the only way to override the decision is through a constitutional amendment, which requires the support of a Congress that benefits from the contributions now permitted by the Supreme Court.  

Messina-Yauchzy and Move to Amend believe that “those who don’t support such an amendment need to be voted out of office” of the New York State legislature. “We expect our congress and our senators them to support an amendment that gives democracy to the people, not those with big money or corporations, but to the people who they’re supposed to represent. If they won’t do that, then they need to be replaced.”