As Expected, Big Money Flood Grows Bigger in Wake of McCutcheon Ruling

Five months after the U.S. Supreme Court’s McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission ruling struck down certain limits to the campaign contributions, the election cycle is already flooded with more money from wealthy individuals that would not have been allowed prior to the decision. 

By the end of June, at least 310 donors who spent above the pre-McCutcheon cap had already contributed a total of $49.8 million — $11.6 million more than would have been permitted before the April ruling, according to data from the research organization Center for Responsive Politics. While these donors favors Republicans two to one, they also write big checks to Democrats.

Who are these wealthy individuals? Some are well-known, politically influential billionaires, including Charles and David Koch, Sheldon Adelson, and George Soros. Others are hedge fund managers, real estate magnates, and wealthy business people. At 310 people so far, they represent less than one in a million Americans, analysts at the Center for Responsive Politics point out.

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According to Matea Gold writing for the Washington Post, many of these donors are thrilled with their boosted political access and influence following the highly controversial court ruling. 

“You have to realize, when you start contributing to all these guys, they give you access to meet them and talk about your issues,” Andrew Sabin, a wealthy donor who surpassed pre-McCutcheon limits, told the Post.

Like the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling, the McCutcheon ruling reduced the government’s ability to limit campaign contributions. The latter scrapped the maximum aggregate amount that individuals can donate to candidates and political parties — which had previously stood at  $123,200 total — during a two year election cycle, meaning individuals can now donate an aggregate of $3.6 million.

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