There is an old saying that we should always be careful of what we wish for, because we may indeed receive it. The same theory should hold true for the things we fight against, as we may lose out on an opportunity too. This sage counsel is especially relevant in the case of the Supreme Court case I brought forward, McCutcheon vs FEC, considering those who fought against it are now utilizing it the most.
McCutcheon vs FEC will always be about the First Amendment and the freedom to support multiple candidates. While the Republican National Committee (RNC) joined us in the lawsuit, it has been widely reported that the political left is actually raising more money as a result of the opportunities created by the favorable resolution of the case. I say, good for them.
As a conservative, do I regret bringing the case or actually winning it? Of course not. However, in retrospect, I do hope those who maligned my position by setting up “straw man” arguments, leveled personal insults, and even made death threats (I learned that people take campaign finance reform very seriously) have now reconsidered their positions – all of them.
I fully support the exercise of the freedom made possible by the case we fought so hard to win. It is the American way. Supporting candidates directly, even multiple ones, lessens reliance on Super PACS, and allows a candidates message reach more voters directly. In fact, I am folding a Super PAC which I founded so I can support more candidates directly.
I was regularly puzzled when adversaries fighting against the case would argue that more money in politics was a bad thing. Did they understand that more money in the system also means, more opportunities for supporting candidates they admire too?
What is wrong with giving an underdog candidate a chance? Where is the issue of supporting more challengers? Did these adversaries who fought so hard against the First Amendment in this matter never even consider they could use a victory to promote their liberal candidates and causes too? If they knew then, what they benefit from now, perhaps their vitriol toward me, and the First Amendment freedoms I advocate for, would have been less passionate – and less threatening.
Despite its roots in truth, I often joke that most of the candidates I support end up losing. As I have stated many times before, I don’t care what party wins or loses as long as it’s a free speech system like the one made more perfect by my case. More American money from individuals is one of the best corrections we can make to the system. A dose of Freedom is always better than corruption or another government rule designed by lawyers distant from reality.
The McCutcheon decision gets more candidates actually on the playing field by increasing the quantity of candidates, parties and causes that someone can support directly. It was easily done by striking the aggregate contribution limit laws from the overflowing law books. Base limits still exist but base limits should be raised significantly until lawyers can identify actual corruption (but that’s a topic for another day.) While incumbents are instinctively opposed to our position because this modest deregulation simply means more candidates to oppose them, it should be embraced now, especially since everyone involved in the process benefits.
Despite the arguments leading up to the Supreme Court decision the voice of the people is indeed amplified based on the decision. Back to freedom is the right direction for us all. However, I do wish that more conservatives would take advantage of the situation made possible by the case the RNC pursued with me.
There is no doubt that fundraising in this election cycle is unlike any other. There are more opportunities to support candidates than ever before – I hope that despite the various challenges ahead, the RNC is able to take advantage of the victory they earned in my case too. Otherwise, they got what they wished for, but don’t know what to do with that success. Maybe they just don’t know how to handle it when they finally get a real winner.
Shaun McCutcheon, an electrical engineer in Alabama, is the successful plaintiff in McCutcheon vs FEC and author of Outsider Inside the Supreme Court.