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.

More money means more power

Other worried how these large donations may impact who can be elected into office.

Let’s use this money elsewhere!

Students also discussed how this money should be used for other reasons.

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.

It’s freedom of expression!

Several students argued that donating money is a way to practice the First Amendment.

But not everyone will not be heard

Students also expressed concern on how wealthier people will have more of a say in elections.

There will always be corruption

Students also believed that corruption is just a part of politics.


Laura Robledo

Laura Robledo studied English at UC Berkeley. When she is not reading, looking up new music, or running half marathons, she loves to explore the beautiful city of San Francisco.

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