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What others say: Affirm money limits

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 8 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

The following editorial appeared recently in the Seattle Times:

No one can argue with a straight face that the national political environment is short of money. Democrats and Republicans have access to literally billions of dollars.

Likewise, no one can make a credible case that the current political circus in Washington, D.C., could have been avoided with massive infusions of cash.

Indeed, it is more logical to assume the flood of contributions in circulation only fuels and encourages the maverick behavior that led to the implosion of budget proceedings and the government shutdown. Those self-absorbed pols on Capitol Hill are not thinking about ordinary people.

Now comes a nightmarish sequel to the Citizens United case, which blew the door off campaign spending by corporations and unions.

Worries about the corrupting power of money have sustained federal limits on individual contributions to federal candidates and parties. Limits have been tested in numerous court challenges and have survived.

Once again, the constitutionality of those laws is before the U.S. Supreme Court, which Tuesday hears arguments in the case of McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission.

An Alabama Republican, Shaun McCutcheon, and the Republican National Committee want to undo the laws.

Individuals are hardly shunted to the sidelines under the current rules. A single donor can contribute $123,200 in a federal election cycle to party committees, to PACs and to federal candidates.

The concern is that this court would open floodgates for the wealthiest individuals by lifting aggregate contribution limits.

The fear of removing contribution limits is grounded in the reality of candidates following the wishes of big contributors.

The current limits in place date to the Watergate political scandals, which resulted in the resignation of a president.

Spare the United States a repeat of that tragedy. Wealthy donors are not being denied a chance to express an opinion. Influencing an opinion is one thing. Buying it is another.

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