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In TIME, Prof. Smith defends SCOTUS ruling on political contributions

Morgantown, W.Va.—WVU Law professor Bradley Smith supports the majority opinion in the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent 5-4 ruling in McCutcheon v. FEC.

A conservative businessman, McCutcheon argued that the FEC limits on the amount he could contribute to a political campaign during a two-year period was a violation of the First Amendment.

Smith takes the stance that fears and not facts of corruption tied to campaign contributions has led to “tremendous regulatory overkill.”

Writing in TIME magazine’s April 2 issue, Smith said:

“The case turned on a substantial infringement on our First Amendment right to freely associate — the so-called “aggregate contribution limit.” The aggregate contribution limit should not be confused with “base limits.” Base limits restrict the ability of any individual to give unlimited sums to a candidate, party, or PAC.”

According to Smith, the government argument hinged on “a series of wild hypotheticals, completely unbound from common campaign practice or common sense.”

Smith also pointed out that “under current law, not affected by McCutcheon, a donor may only give $2,600 to any given candidate for each election, and $5,000 to a political action committee (PAC).”

Smith is the 2013-2015 Judge John T. Copenhaver Visiting Endowed Chair of Law at WVU. He is a past chairman and commissioner of the Federal Election Commission (2000-2005), appointed by President Bill Clinton, and Chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics.

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