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Promoting Donations by Small Donors

Reducing the Influence of Big Campaign Donors

Here is some background on this issue.

In recent decades, Congress passed new laws to reduce the influence of big campaign donors by putting greater limits on campaign donations.

However, many of those limits were rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court as contrary to First Amendment protections on freedom of expression. While there are still some limits on what one donor can give to a campaign, there are also alternative channels that still allow large donations.

Of particular importance, the Supreme Court made some decisions in 2010, especially the one known as ‘Citizens United,’ which opened up new channels for donations, especially through organizations called ‘SuperPacs.’ As a result, the amount of contributions from big donors increased substantially.

In response to these Supreme Court decisions and the increasing amount of donations from big donors, some people have proposed passing an amendment to the Constitution to enable Congress to impose greater limits on campaign donations. Later, we will consider this possibility.

First, we would like you to consider a number of other proposals that do not require a Constitutional amendment, but also have the potential to reduce or counterbalance the influence of big campaign donors.