Seeking to capitalize on the Supreme Court's recent ruling that eased restrictions on political contributions, Republicans are launching what experts call a new "super joint fundraising committee." The Republican Victory Fund will work under the expanded rules set by the court's April 2 ruling in the McCutcheon v. FEC case.
As NPR's Peter Overby reports, the Republican Victory Fund will be able to raise nearly $100,000 each year from each donor. Here's Peter's report for our Newscast unit:
"The Victory Fund will split the cash among the Republican National Committee and the two GOP committees for House and Senate races.
"Until last week's Supreme Court ruling, the $97,200 maximum was about 80 percent of all the contributions a donor could make to candidates and party committees in a two-year election cycle.
"The RNC financed the lawsuit that challenged the aggregate limits; GOP leaders say the new money will revitalize the party organization.
"Critics say it's only a matter of time before congressional leaders also create joint fundraising committees. They could collect six- or seven-figure checks and distribute the funds to candidates aligned with them."
In interviews with veteran campaign finance lawyers in Washington, Peter found that the new arrival of super joint fundraising committees could undermine the major political parties, continuing a trend that includes superPACs and other entities that skirt national parties as they funnel money toward political campaigns.
After the ruling, "the party committees and all the other groups can jump in with both feet, without worrying about a donor being maxed out," attorney Ken Gross told Peter last week.
Another lawyer, Robert Kelner, said, "The main effect of this decision is that it's going to encourage the development of super joint fundraising committees."
"By lifting the so-called aggregate cap that limited the total amount a single donor could give to parties and candidates, donors no longer have to pick and choose which party committees or candidates to throw their support to. Instead, they're free to support a variety of parties and candidates — and those parties and candidates are now able to partner together to raise those funds."