Letter: McCutcheon ruling tips scale toward the wealthy

April 7, 2014 

Sorry, but the Herald got the wrong sub-headline on the McCutcheon ruling: "Chief justice writes in decision that ruling upholds people's First Amendment right to participate in electing leaders." It should read: "Chief justice writes decision that upholds wealthy people's right to affect electing leaders."

Our combined income is about $60,000 a year. After paying for our living expenses -- mortgage, car payments, insurance, property taxes, food, etc. -- we have perhaps $5,000 in discretionary funds to pay for meals out, entertainment, travel, etc. We might be able to contribute $500 total to various candidates.

Justice Roberts' opinion notwithstanding, it seems that the McCutcheon ruling will allow ultra-wealthy Americans to contribute hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars to candidates of their choice.

Put our $500 on a balance scale with $1 million. Which has the greater influence?

Sheldon Adelson, Las Vegas casino owner, is credited with spending $150 million in 2012 with donation caps in place. The Supreme Court removed those caps; how much will he spend? He reportedly makes $32 million a day. His 2012 spending is five weeks "work."

Anyone (five justices) who thinks that millions of dollars will make no difference in the political process is out of touch with reality.

Move to amend.


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