By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, Bill Armistead, issued a statement regarding the oral arguments heard earlier in the week before the Supreme Court in the case of McCutcheon v. FEC. Prominent Alabama engineer and noted Republican activist, Shaun McCutcheon, is suing the Federal Elections Commission because he believes that federal limits both on how much money an individual can give to federal candidates violates his Freedom of Speech rights under the U.S. Constitution.
ALGOP Chairman Bill Armistead said, “I am pleased to know that the Supreme Court is finally addressing this issue of what I believe to be an unconstitutional ban placed on an individual’s rights to political contributions. This case has sparked a heated debate, and rightly so. I applaud Shaun McCutcheon for taking up such an important cause to protect our fundamental right to free speech.”
Armistead said, “If Republicans hope to make a difference, we need to fight for what we believe to be true. We need to fight to uphold the Constitution and the rights it gives us. I greatly appreciate Shaun’s determination to fight for the rights of individuals to give political contributions to as many candidates as he or she chooses.”
Chairman Armistead concluded, “I am encouraged with what we have heard from the Supreme Court today following oral arguments. Chief Justice Roberts stated that aggregate limits seem ‘to be a very direct restriction’ on an individual’s First Amendment rights. I pray that the Chief Justice stands by that belief and that the other justices follow suit.”
McCutcheon and his legal team is arguing that political contributions are speech and thus are protected by the First Amendment. Just as someone is free to speak out against multiple congressional candidates, McCutcheon is arguing before the court that he has the right to give as much money as he wants to as many candidates he chooses and existing limits on the number of campaigns he can donate to and the aggregate amount that he can give are an unreasonable and unconstitutional burden.
McCutcheon told the New York Times that Americans should spend more on politics not less.
Currently an individual can contribute only $2,600 per federal candidate in an election and can not give more than $32,400 to a political party. Individuals are also limited in both the aggregate amount that they can give total ($123,200) and in the number of campaigns they may donate to.
McCutcheon’s attorney Bobby Burchfield told the court that “This is a severe restriction on political speech.”
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said that aggregate limits have a “consequence, to sap the vitality of political parties.”
The FEC was defended by U.S. Solicitor General, Bob Verilli.
The U.S. Supreme Court will is expected to issue an opinion in McCutcheon versus the Federal Elections Commission before the end of June.