Campaign Finance And The Supreme Court Essay

1778 Words Jul 25th, 2016 8 Pages
Campaign Finance and the Supreme Court
In 1974 Congress passed (and then President Ford signed) a set of Amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971. These amendments included prohibiting individuals from donating over a specific amount of money ($1000) to any one campaign, and limited the total contributions to $25,000 for all federal campaigns combined. The amendments also included limiting the amount of money that a candidate could contribute and spend on their own campaign and establishing public finance provisions, among other things. In Buckley v. Valeo, Sen. James Buckley, former Sen. Eugene McCarthy and other groups originally filed suit in US District Court, claiming the amendments were unconstitutional. They stated that the new laws violated the rights prescribed in the First Amendment and the Fifth Amendment. In part, Buckley et al reasoned that by telling someone how much they can contribute to a campaign (whether their own or others), and by setting limits on how much a campaign can spend, the government was denying the peoples Freedom of Expression (1st Amendment). They also challenged the ability to contribute via taxes (“Check here to add $1…”) as a violation of the Due Process Clause (5th Amendment), they believed that the majority of the donations would go to the two major political parties and therefore not benefit any minor or new parties. The district court requested that the US Court of Appeals in D.C. resolve the constitutionality…

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