Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus could hardly contain his glee during a conference call with reporters shortly after the Supreme Court ruled to strike the aggregate limit on campaign contributions.
“We are excited about the outcome of this case,” exulted Priebus, noting that the RNC bankrolled the constitutional challenge brought by businessman Shaun McCutcheon from beginning to end. In McCutcheon v. FEC, the court ruled 5-4 to overturn the overall limit on what an individual may donate collectively to parties, candidates and PACs in one election cycle, which was capped at $123,200 total.
The ruling “allows us to go to our donors and say: Look instead of being able to give to only nine Senate candidates, you can now give to the 14 that are most in play,” Priebus told reporters. “And you can give to the Senate committee, the congressional committee and the RNC, and you can max out to all three.”
Priebus wasn’t the only party official rejoicing in the wake of the high court’s Wednesday ruling. One Democratic campaign committee operative confided that he was “happy as a pig in shit.” While advocates of campaign finance limits on and off Capitol Hill assailed the ruling as an invitation to corruption and campaign finance abuses, party officials welcomed the decision.
The national party committees have good reason to celebrate, election lawyers say. Under the old rules, an individual contributor could give no more than $74,600 overall to the political party committees in a given election cycle. The “base” limit that caps the size of the contribution — $2,600 on what an individual may give to a candidate per election, for example — remains intact. But in the wake of the ruling, a big donor may give the maximum to all three party committees.