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Supreme Court’s ruling on McCutcheon deals blow to America’s working families

Decision opens floodgates even further for corporations, elite to dominate our democracy


WASHINGTON - April 02, 2014 -

This morning the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. At issue in the case was whether the First Amendment prohibits reasonable campaign restrictions that placed aggregate limits on the amounts that wealthy individuals can give to candidates, political parties, and PACs in federal elections.

The National Education Association filed an amicus brief in support of a lower court decision upholding the federal contribution limits. The brief, written on behalf of NEA and joined by AFL-CIO, American Federal of State, County and Municipal Employees, and Service Employees International Union, argued that the current limits do not significantly infringe on the First Amendment rights of wealthy individuals who seek to make massive aggregate contributions and that the limits are necessary to preserve the integrity of the election process. The Court today rejected that argument, striking down the aggregate limits altogether as a violation of the First Amendment.

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Dennis Van Roekel:

“America’s working families lost today when the Supreme Court’s ruling on McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission effectively removed meaningful limits on the total amount an individual can directly contribute to candidates, political parties and political committees. The ruling creates yet another loophole that will allow a single individual to contribute millions of dollars to political parties, candidates and multi-candidate PACs.

“At a time when the lop-sided playing field unfairly benefits the haves over the have-nots, the McCutcheon decision opens the floodgates even further for corporations and the monied elite to dominate our democracy. The majority opinion goes on to strike down aggregate limits that only prevent the very richest in our society from contributing to every campaign they would like and, thereby, dominating the political discourse.

“Our country was founded on the premise that democracy is not for sale. No kindergarten teacher, school nurse, librarian, food service worker or school bus driver can compete with the deep pockets of billionaires. Taken together with Citizens United, today’s decision guts America’s campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve.”

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Staci Maiers, NEA Communications, (202) 270-5333 cell, smaiers@nea.org


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Read the Amicus Brief filed by NEA on the McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission case.