McCutcheon tonight

It’s a great time to debate McCutcheon, the case that paves the way for unlimited aggregate donations. Even with the prior limits in place ($123,000 per two year cycle), less than 1% of the population supplied 75% of all the money. After McCutcheon, individual donors can give $3.6 million to candidates, parties, and party committees. This will surely make money in politics an even more undemocratic force. To give you an idea of what I mean, consider that just 200 millionaires and billionaires supplied 80% of the total independent expenditures in the 2012 elections. That’s .000063% of the US population controlling outside speech (superPACs and the like). McCutcheon will bring donations further down the same road as independent expenditures.  Decided less than a month ago, the case is already producing something we’ve seen in the criminal law context of harsh mandatory minimum sentences: judges who tearfully administer laws that they find unconscionable. In tonight’s debate in Atlanta, I’ll try to bring to light the reasons that McCutcheon is popular in some circles and to examine those arguments with genuine curiosity.