Albert W. Alschuler, Limiting Political Contributions After McCutcheon, Citizens United, and SpeechNow

67 Fla. L. Rev. 389 (2015) |

There was something unreal about the opinions in McCutcheon v. FEC. These opinions examined a series of strategies for circumventing the limits on contributions to candidates imposed by federal election law, but they failed to notice that the limits were no longer breathing. The D.C. Circuit’s decision in SpeechNow.org v. FEC had created a far easier way to evade the limits than any of those the Supreme Court discussed. SpeechNow held all limits on contributions to super PACs unconstitutional.

This Article argues that the D.C. Circuit erred; Citizens United v. FEC did not require unleashing super PAC contributions. The Article also considers what can be said for and against a bumper sticker’s declarations that “MONEY IS NOT SPEECH!” and“CORPORATIONS ARE NOT PEOPLE!” It proposes a framework for evaluating the constitutionality of campaign-finance regulations that differs from the one currently employed by the Supreme Court. And it proposes a legislative scheme of campaign-finance regulation that would effectively limit contributions while respecting the Supreme Court’s campaign-finance decisions.

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