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7 Calif. L. Rev. Circuit 1 (2016)

handle is hein.journals/callro7 and id is 1 raw text is: 











    California Law Review Circuit


  VOL.7                                                     APRIL 2016
                   Copyright © 2016 by California Law Review, Inc.


       Shaun McCutcheon v. FEC: More


                  Money, No Problem


                        Alexander S. Epstein*


                             INTRODUCTION
     Unrestricted campaign contributions pose a straightforward threat:
individuals with the deepest pockets will gain unfairly disproportionate access
to political decision-making. In light of this threat, Congress imposes limits on
campaign contributions.1 Without these limits, our government-founded on the
axiomatic notion of by the people, for the people2 -risks becoming a
government by the rich, for the rich. Today, the Federal Election Campaign Act
of 1971 (FECA or the Act), as amended by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act
of 2002 (BCRA), permits an individual to contribute up to $2,700 per election to
a candidate ($5,400 total for the primary and general elections); $33,400 per year
to a national party committee; $10,000 per year to a state or local party
committee; and $5,000 per year to a political action committee (PAC).3
Likewise, a national committee, state or local party committee, or multicandidate
PAC may contribute up to $5,000 per election to a candidate.4 In addition to
these base contribution limits, Congress also imposed important aggregate
limits, which remained in effect until April 2014. The aggregate limits restricted
how much money a donor could contribute, to all candidates or committees, in a


        DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15779/Z388C36
     * J.D., University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, 2016; B.A. University of
California, Santa Barbara, 2012.
     1. See52 U.S.C.A. § 30116 (West 2015).
     2. Gettysburg Address, BRITANNICA, http://www.britannica.com/event/Gettysburg-Address
(last updated Aug. 5, 2014).
     3. 52 U.S.C.A. § 30116(a)(1) (West 2015); 80 Fed. Reg. 5750-02 (Feb. 3, 2015).
     4. § 30116(a)(2).

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