What does the victory of Ted Cruz’s Supreme Court mean?

In 2018, Ted Cruz will run for the Senate against rival Beto O’Rourke spent: about $ 40 million. O’Rourke’s campaign spent: double that amount.

A day before the vote in Texas, Cruz spent $ 260,000 on his campaign. This was an interesting, seemingly unnecessary gesture. The final report of the campaign showed that it ended with $ 263,000 in cash.

However, Cruz was not acting irrationally. He was preparing the ground for his own challenge, an attack that shook the remnants The McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Act 2002

The law, more commonly known as the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, or BCRA, limited how campaigns could repay candidate loans. The campaign has 20 days, during which it can fully repay such loans. After that period, it can repay no more than $ 250,000.

When Cruise Campaign ended his return, the deadline had expired. Thus, his campaign committee repaid only $ 250,000 of the loan, leaving $ 10,000 outstanding, which Cruz subsequently sued in federal court for reinstatement, arguing that the provision violated his First Amendment rights. It kicked off a more than three-year trial with the Federal Election Commission, which ruled on Monday. The decision of the Supreme Court.

Cruz had wisely set the size of his loan so that the legal defeat would cost him only $ 10,000. But he won. And his victory և opened another hole in a law that had already been crushed by past FEC decisions, including: “Citizens United”. (decided by the Supreme Court in January 2010) և Speechnow.org: (decided by the DC Circuit two months later “Citizens United”.):

Federal Electoral Commission v. Cruz now joins the list է pushes BCRA further into invalid. The majority opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts rejected the credit restriction as an inadmissibly burdensome candidate for the right to freedom of speech. Since 1976 Buckley vs. Valeo, candidates were allowed to spend unlimited money on their own campaign. So, what is the rationale for limiting their loan? Roberts argued. Even limiting the repayment terms of such loans means restricting the candidate’s right to political speech in an unconstitutional way.

In her eloquent dissent, Justice Elena Kagan offered an answer.

The political investments that will be made in the candidate’s own pocket, made after his election, pose a special corruption risk. The candidate is more interested than usual in receiving the money (to supplement his personal finances) and is now able to give something in return.

The majority rejected this concern as an assumption, consoled by the continued restrictions on political investment as a sufficient protection against corruption or the emergence of corruption.

The big winners Cruise The decision is that the candidates are rich enough to write their own big check, but not rich enough to afford to say goodbye to money forever. A true billionaire may not have to worry about repaying his campaign loan, but a simple multimillionaire may want or need it. So big day for them.

Besides, it is doubtful that this case is really a possible event in itself. It’s more part of a larger reshuffle of campaign finance since 2002, the biggest change of which has been the rise of the Super PAC.

Once upon a time, the most important players in any election were the campaigns. They raised money, spent it on the candidates, under the leadership of their campaign headquarters. Supreme Court rulings against the BCRA have redistributed campaign power to obese PACs, which can increase spending on a larger scale than almost any candidate. Super PACs are not only campaign independent but also specifically prohibited from campaigning. The “super PAC” rule requiring the separation of candidates requires a great deal of caution between the two supposedly non-communicative parts of the campaign, otherwise the candidate may become a mere spectator of his choice.

However, the rule can have a strange effect. For example, super PACs will now release negative sociological information to the world so that their preferred candidate can read it legally. In February of this year, for example, the Super PAC supported Jay D. Vance’s senatorial candidacy in Ohio. published: A 98-page PowerPoint presentation that shows how much damage has been done to Vance by the Growth Club’s ads against him as Never Trump. This is not something that the campaign will usually accept. However, the spread information was useful. Vance’s supporter Peter Till parted ways with Super PAC he had given $ 10 million last year so he could still act as an adviser to Vance’s campaign. Beware of publicly disseminating the research he funded but could not read privately, Thiel was able to make the most of his campaign adviser status: helps to obtain Vance’s endorsement by former President Donald Trump. Approval was reached on April 15, and Vance won the preliminary three weeks later.

Cagan acquired the literary power of dissent Cruise The decision pays a lot of attention. But it can be a misdirection. The big news of campaign finance in the 2020s is not what happens inside campaigns, but what happens outside of campaigns. As is often the case in the history of US campaign financing, the unintended consequences of reform crush the intended.

In the world of superpowers’s vastly unregulated super PACs, the old FEC focus on police campaigns has probably become obsolete, even counterproductive. Today’s question may be: How do we re-run candidates’ campaigns, restoring their responsibilities, rather than allowing them to find refuge in the denial of secret, super-powerful PACs?

At least you know who is answering whom through the election campaign. It may not be much. But it’s better than the world we built after McCain-Feingold became law.

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