High court loosens reins on big campaign donors
WASHINGTON - It's the latest declaration from the Supreme Court that some of the limits on big-money political contributions violate the free-speech rights of the contributors.
The court, in a 5-4 ruling today, said donors can give to as many political candidates and campaigns as they want -- rejecting the overall federal limit on contributions from individuals. That limit had stood at $123,000 last year and this year.
The wealthiest contributors will now be free to pour millions of dollars into candidate and party coffers. But those contributions will be subject to disclosure under federal law, unlike much of the big money that independent groups have spent on attack ads.
The justices left in place the limits on individual contributions to each candidate for president or Congress. That limit is $2,600 for a primary and another $2,600 for the general election.
Justice Stephen Breyer criticized the ruling in a dissent in which he said the court's conservatives have "eviscerated our nation's campaign finance laws."
The White House says it's disappointed with the decision. But the head of the Republican National Committee says it's "an important first step toward restoring the voice of candidates and party committees."