State Aggregate Limits and Proportional Bans under McCutcheon: Likely Unconstitutional or Highly Vulnerable
by Matt Nese
Center for Competitive Politics
April 23, 2014
On April 2, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, which invalidated the federal aggregate limit on contributions by individuals to candidate campaigns and political committees as unconstitutional under the First Amendment. Nine states—Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, and Wyoming –and the District of Columbia impose aggregate limits in some form on the overall amount individuals may contribute to the candidates and causes of their choice. These limits appear to be unconstitutional, according to the precedent set in McCutcheon. Another nine states impose other forms of limits that operate in a similar fashion to an aggregate limit, leaving them highly vulnerable to a legal challenge. Policymakers in the District of Columbia and the 18 states with aggregate limits and proportional bans should consider repealing these speech-stifling regulations to comply with the precedent set in McCutcheon.