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McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission

United States Supreme Court
134 S. Ct. 1434 (2014)



During the 2011–2012 election cycle, Shaun McCutcheon (plaintiff) made a number of donations to political candidates and committees across the country. The amount donated to each candidate was at or below the federal limits on contributions to individual candidates. McCutcheon, however, wished to donate the same amounts to additional candidates but was unable to do so under a federal law establishing an aggregate-contribution limit across all candidates. McCutcheon brought suit against the Federal Election Commission (FEC) (defendant), challenging the constitutionality of the aggregate-limit statute. The FEC argued that the aggregate-contribution limit prevented circumvention of the individual-candidate limit. Specifically, the FEC argued that a donor’s unspecific contributions to committees will end up inuring to the benefit of an individual politician to which the donor had already given the maximum amount. The district court denied McCutcheon’s motion for a preliminary injunction. McCutcheon appealed directly to the United States Supreme Court under 28 U.S.C. 1253.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Roberts, C.J.)

Concurrence (Thomas, J.)

Dissent (Breyer, J.)

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