Brennan Center for Justice had this article by Marina Pino published. Here is an excerpt:
Ahead of the 13th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision last Saturday, Washington was rocked by two different campaign finance scandals. On the surface, Rep. George Santos (R-NY) and former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried appear to have committed extraordinary and isolated incidents of misconduct. Yet their improprieties reveal the deficiencies within our campaign finance system that can be traced back — at least in part — to the Court’s problematic jurisprudence.
Santos has been dogged by scandal following revelations that he lied to voters about his background and life story. Discovery of those falsehoods has in turn led to questions about where Santos raised his campaign money, including the origin of a $705,000 personal loan he made to his campaign, after only reporting $55,000 in income in 2020.
Candidates are allowed to give or loan their campaigns unlimited sums thanks to the Supreme Court’s Buckley v. Valeo decision in 1976, which struck down most campaign spending limits. The Court reasoned that candidates have a First Amendment right to “vigorously and tirelessly” advocate for their own election. The Court doubled down on this reasoning in 2008 in Davis v. FEC, finding that even indirect burdens on self-funders were unconstitutional — in that case, a provision of McCain-Feingold that allowed their opponents to raise more money.
Read teh full article here.
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