Citizens Advocates Want To Maintain Contribution Limits

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. October 8, 2013

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Citizen advocates at NJ Statehouse news conference
Citizen advocates at NJ Statehouse news conference (photo by Phil Gregory)

Some citizen activists in New Jersey are hoping the U.S. Supreme Court rejects lifting the limits on how much money individuals can contribute to political campaigns.

Alabama donor Shaun McCutcheon is asking the court to strike down the overall limit on what an individual can give to political candidates, parties, and political action committees.

Susannah Newman, the New Jersey coordinator of the Overturn Citizens United Coalition, says raising the limits would give too much political influence to wealthy donors. 

 “I’m just furious and I represent so many citizens who are furious with what has happened in the ways of the wealthy having the voice and our singular voices being drowned out. We just can’t be heard.”

Lawrenceville resident Myrna Fichtenbaum says higher contribution limits could endanger the political influence of average citizens.

 “I really believe that what will happen is that the one percent of individuals who frequently are also members of corporations will actually rule politics in this country, and I find that too much of a pill to swallow.”

Peter Skopec with the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group says ordinary Americans would find their political donations rendered nearly inconsequential by just a few big money donors.

“McCutcheon will supersize the influence of big out of state donors making government less responsive to New Jersey voters. One big reason that Americans’ confidence in Congress is at a historic low is that they see their representatives are more responsive to big money donors than to regular voters.” 

New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel says lifting the limits on campaign contributions could hurt the environment.

“We believe we can never have clean air and clean water without clean government. We are concerned that the only thing green that’s going to happen, whether it ‘s in Washington or in the Statehouse, the only thing green about our elected officials will be the money they get from PACs and from SuperPACs.”

The citizen advocates are urging lawmakers to create programs that would provide tax credits for small campaign contributions.


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