Voting Rights and Democracy

RELEASE: Supreme Court Gives Pass to Post-Election Corruption

WASHINGTON, DC – Following the Supreme Court issuing its ruling today in Federal Election Commission v. Ted Cruz for Senate, Constitutional Accountability Center Appellate Counsel Miriam Becker-Cohen shared the following reaction:

Today’s ruling not only ignores the Framers’ deep commitment to preventing corruption in government but also casts aside the Court’s own commitment, enshrined in precedent, to permitting Congress to regulate quid pro quo corruption and the appearance thereof. In the wake of today’s decision, any remaining commitment of this Court to upholding campaign finance regulation seems a hollow promise.

As CAC’s brief laid out in detail, the law that Senator Cruz challenged narrowly targets scenarios that pose a heightened risk of quid pro quo corruption, as well as the appearance of such corruption. As Justice Kagan explained in dissent, when donors contribute after an election to a campaign to which a candidate has made significant personal loans, “[t]he recipe for quid pro quo corruption is thus in place: a donation to enhance the candidate’s own wealth (the quid), made when he has become able to use the power of public office to the donor’s advantage (the quo). The heightened threat of corruption—and, even more, of its appearance—is self-evident (except, it seems, to observers allergic to all campaign finance regulation).”

Today’s ruling shows that this allergy afflicts the majority of the Supreme Court. By essentially giving a free pass to the risk and appearance of quid pro quo corruption in the days following an election, the Court reached a result anathema to those who drafted and ratified our Constitution.

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Resources:

CAC case page in Federal Election Commission v. Ted Cruz for Senate: https://www.theusconstitution.org/litigation/federal-election-commission-v-ted-cruz-for-senate/

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Constitutional Accountability Center is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history. Visit CAC’s website at www.theusconstitution.org.

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