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SCOTUS Overturns Millionaire's Amendment

by: James L.

Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 12:59 PM EDT

Depressing news:

The Supreme Court struck down a key component of campaign finance reform on Thursday, the so-called "Millionaire's Amendment."

In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled the amendment violates the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Under the Millionaire's Amendment, candidates were allowed to receive larger contributions from donors when wealthy opponents dipped into their personal fortunes.

So who does this help? Extremely wealthy candidates, who disproportionately are Republicans, of course:

Rep. Charles Boustany (LA-07 vs. Don Cravins, Jr.)
Rep. Vern Buchanan (FL-13 vs. Christine Jennings)
Rep. Robin Hayes (NC-08 vs. Larry Kissell)

Lou Barletta (PA-11 vs. Paul Kanjorski)
Susan Bitter-Smith and Dave Schweikert (AZ-05 vs. Rep. Harry Mitchell)
Jeb Bradley (NH-01 vs. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter)
Bill Dew (UT-02 vs. Jim Matheson)
Sen. Elizabeth Dole (NC-Sen vs. Kay Hagan)
Mike Erickson (OR-05 vs. Kurt Schrader)
Keith Fimian (VA-11 vs. Gerry Connelly)
Chris Gorman (if he wins LA-04 primary vs. Paul Carmouche)
Steve Greenberg (IL-08 vs. Melissa Bean)
Chris Hackett (PA-10 vs. Chris Carney)
Richard Hanna (NY-24 vs. Mike Arcuri)
Chris Lee (NY-26 vs. Dem candidate)
Jay Love (AL-02 vs. Bobby Bright)
Marty Ozinga (IL-11 vs. Debbie Halvorson)
Steve Pearce (NM-Sen vs. Steve Pearce)
Jim Risch (ID-Sen vs. Larry LaRocco)
Tom Rooney and Hal Valeche (FL-16 primary vs. Rep. Tim Mahoney)
Sen. Gordon Smith (OR-Sen vs. Jeff Merkley)
Mike Sodrel (IN-09 vs. Rep. Baron Hill)
Sandy Treadwell (NY-20 vs. Kirsten Gillibrand)

Dems helped by this decision: Jack Davis (NY-26), Bruce Lunsford (KY-Sen), Walt Minnick (ID-01), Michael Skelly (TX-07), Jared Polis (CO-02), Rep. Steve Kagen (WI-08), Parker Griffith (AL-05), and maybe Sen. Frank Lautenberg (NJ-Sen)

James L. :: SCOTUS Overturns Millionaire's Amendment
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Well Mr. Generic Republican is probably celebrating...
Monopoly Man

eh this was upsetting.

CO-02 (college)/FL-15 (home).  

C'mon Bruce!
Throw everything you've got at McConnell!

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

Ugh...raise contribution limits?
I can't think of another remedy.

John McCain: Healthcare for kids?  Not for a Bush-McCain America.

Fairness doctrine
Best remedy is to restore the old Fairness Doctrine on media coverage eliminated by Ronald Reagan.  It would take a lot of the blowhards from free media off of TV and radio and more than equalize the playing field.

[ Parent ]
Why do we need to get them off TV? Whats wrong with freedom of speach on the public airwaves?

A cat can have kittens in an oven but that doesn't make them biscuits.

[ Parent ]
Hate to say it...
But I agree with Kyle.  The fairness doctrine is just stupid.  The airwaves should be allowed to show whatever people want to watch.

There's a reason why people like Keith Olberman are soaring in ratings while Fox News is plummeting and it's not due to government restricting what is on the air.  

[ Parent ]
Right on
People will watch what they want to watch. Personally I dislike all those guys (Olberman, O'Rielly, etc) and they have no sway over my vote.  

A cat can have kittens in an oven but that doesn't make them biscuits.

[ Parent ]
Whether you like them of not it's better to let people decide what they want to watch.  I often find it hypocritical that people in my own party demand equal time enforced on the radio and TV, yet don't want any government control over the web (where we have a clear advantage).  All forms of communication should be as free as possible.  If a website or TV/redio show are unpopular people won't watch or read it.

[ Parent ]
Not stuoid at all
We had it for many years until the mid 80s.  The general tone and content was more news and less opinion; more light and less heat.

The usual spats about gay marriage or flag lapel pins were just a lot less prevalent back then.  Nixon, Goldwater, and Reagan on the one hand and JFK, LBJ and McGovern had more meaningful contrast and provoked higher turnout and better policy.  There was a lot of crap to be sure but dropping or altering social security was more than one line in a debate in 1964 (btw, social security won).

[ Parent ]
Disagree completely
Turnout and voter participation are generational qualities.  There's no evidence that people became alienated because news people started giving opinions.  Hell, with the internet we have far more opinions than news and voter attention to and participation in elections is soaring.

By the way, do you think the internet should be regulated to filter opinion out?  If not, why TV and radio and not the internet?  

[ Parent ]
Freedom of speech is good.  Speech that is regularly unbalanced in favpr of one side is just a long winded term for ptopaganda.  Fair coverage where both sides get access gives voters a fair choice.

[ Parent ]
If you don't like the "propaganda" don't watch it
While station owners usually have a bias I don't believe any of them are in the business to lose money.  If people don't watch them they will change their programming in favor of what people want to watch.

About the only news related show I watch anymore is Olbermann.  I don't like Fox News, which is why I don't watch it.  But I'm not in favor of preventing other people from watching it if they choose.

[ Parent ]
The weird thing is
I don't see too many races on the list where, because of the other fundamentals, the extra money is likely to help the Republican challenger win (or do anything other than turn a 60-40 loss into a 55-45 loss). Maybe FL-16, if Rooney makes it out of the primary (same Rooney family that owns the Steelers, although I believe Rooney Sr. is an Obama backer), but Mahoney has been a fairly good fundraiser and I think he has his own wad of cash too.

I suppose this will help Robin Hayes with his defense... but I gotta wonder if paying a lot of family money to save his seat which will be deep in the minority is the best way to protect his family textile forture. Spending that money on a good Democratic lobbyist on trade issues might be a better use of the family money!

I wonder if the NRCC was actually counting on this ruling going down the way it did, which would explain their emphasis on recruiting self-funders last year. (Since that would actually require thinking a few steps ahead, though, it's more likely that they turned to self-funders because they knew they would be broke in 2008.)

Millionaires dont seem to have a good record on winning races though. Look at this line from a CQ artical on the ruling:

"At least 24 House candidates have triggered the millionaires' amendment this cycle. Of those, 10 remain active - while others either lost a primary or dropped out."

Primary season is nowhere near over, but so far of the 24 men and women who triggered the amendment, more than half of them are gone, is not a good sign for them.

A cat can have kittens in an oven but that doesn't make them biscuits.

Who's Left
Who are the 10 candidates still remaining who have triggered the millionaire's amendment?

[ Parent ]
Good news for Michael Skelly
in TX-07. He will now be able to dip into his own pocket limitlessly without Culberson being able to raise extra.

   What the fuck.  How could it be that Souter voted with the majority?!  I really hate the Supreme Court.  

24, Male, GA-05

Seize his house!
and make it the Lost Liberty Hotel!

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

[ Parent ]
I'm not exactly outraged by this
If someone wants to waste millions of their own money they can have at it.  Actually I'd prefer someone spend their own money rather than massive donations from special interests.  

But the amendment never limited in any way the amount anyone could spend on his or her own race.  It simply raised the amounts that opponents of such candidates could raise from donors.  I tend to side with the dissent on this one.

[ Parent ]
This one does not in any way take away a rich dude's ability to blow millions on a political race, but it sure makes it harder for a non-wealthy challenger to compete.

This was an awful decision and a big blow to democracy, IMHO.

[ Parent ]

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