Do you think money plays a large role in politics? Last week, students discussed how much an individual could donate to political campaigns in our #DoNowCampaign post. We asked students, Is money a corrupting influence on politics, or merely an expression of free speech? Should there be limits on how much individuals and organizations can give to political candidates? Who will benefit the most or be hurt from new rules that do not limit how much money a person can give to candidates?
In April, the Supreme Court decided in the case McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission that the there cannot be a limit to the total amount of money individual donors can give to political parties, candidates, and political action committees (PACS) The justices argued in a 5-4 vote that Americans have the right to donate without worrying about violating the law that limits all contributions. The limit in 2013 and 2014 was set at $123,200. However, this court decision still maintains limits on individual donations to candidates for president or Congress at $2,600 to a single candidate in an election cycle. Those in favor of the new decision argue McCutcheon vs. Federal Election expands the right to free speech guaranteed to all citizens in the First Amendment. Others, however, disputed this new rule will give more power to the wealthy in politics.
Throughout the week, students argued about how this case will change political campaigns. Many believed individuals have the right to use their money as they wish, while others felt there will always be corruption in politics, no matter the limit the government sets. Overall, students agreed that a limit should exist to prevent corruption as much as possible in political campaigns.
It’s Their Money
Some students believed people have the right to spend as much money as they want.
— Michelle Lai (@heyitsmicjelly) April 24, 2014
— River Rice (@RiverRfauhs2b) April 25, 2014
More money means more power
Other worried how these large donations may impact who can be elected into office.
— Samantha Barnum (@Sam_Barnum) April 21, 2014
— Tyler Leadholm (@TylerLeadholm) April 25, 2014
— Nadia S (@nadiasfauhs4B) April 23, 2014
Let’s use this money elsewhere!
Students also discussed how this money should be used for other reasons.
— Katie Malchow (@KatieMalchow) April 21, 2014
— Kat Stone (@Katleene25) April 21, 2014
It’s how they use the money
One student argued that it’s how the politician uses the money, not how much is donated, that matters.
— Symonë (@_MonyTeam) April 21, 2014
It’s freedom of expression!
Several students argued that donating money is a way to practice the First Amendment.
— Evan Liu (@4542elgh) April 22, 2014
If someone wants to support a political candidate then let them! It's their money so they can express themselves through it #stepp10
— Miranda Rebholz (@Miranda_Rebholz) April 28, 2014
But not everyone will not be heard
Students also expressed concern on how wealthier people will have more of a say in elections.
— Matt Bronsdon (@MattBronsdon) April 21, 2014
I think that it's wrong to have more of a say the more money you have. Everybody should have an equal say when it comes to politics #stepp10
— nicole vaughn (@nicoleywoley59) April 28, 2014
There will always be corruption
Students also believed that corruption is just a part of politics.
— Yuanyuan Han (@Yyhan1997) April 23, 2014