McCutcheon to FEC: If Thomas Paine Was Alive Today, Would Use Internet to Promote ‘Common Sense’

Washington DC–On April 2, 2014, the Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, issued a ruling in McCutcheon v. FEC that struck down limits to the amount of money an individual could contribute during a two year period to all federal candidates, parties, and political action committees combined.

Monday Shaun McCutcheon, a one-time obscure electrical engineer from Alabama, made his way back to Washington DC to speak once again to the Federal Elections Commissions, this time on behalf of protecting freedom rights involving Internet-based political campaigns.

McCutcheon said that he hopes he isn’t being “presumptuous  to say that most of you know who I am and what I stand for. You know that I am not a corporation, and I’m not a billionaire. I’m trying to implement positive change as one of the people.”

He explained that the ruling of the McCutcheon v. FEC was about “aggregate limits, aggregate spending limits, not limits per contribution,” which he asserted that he did not challenge. He insisted that striking down aggregate limits “speaks directly to our First Amendment rights. Our most fundamental rights, the right to make reasonable contributions to as many candidates as we, the people, choose.”

The Vestavia Hills, Alabama native said that it is our constitutional right to participate in a democratic process as often and wherever we choose. “It has everything to do with the constitutional right of all citizens to support 10 candidates rather than nine, or 21 rather than 20,” he argued. McCutcheon remarked, “Happily, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed with me.”

Apropos of a new agenda to attempt to regulate the internet for political-content-oriented sites like Drudge Report, Breitbart, etc., McCutcheon said:

The ultimate message in my case, whenever regulators, any regulators, engage in rulemaking, they and their stakeholders must carefully consider all such nonnegotiable constitutional rights before they do anything. They must, likewise, bear in mind that regulation for the sake of regulation is self-defeating. Needless regulation will not stop corruption. It will only play to the advantage of interests and candidates, usually incumbents. The struggle to reaffirm the inalienable rights of citizens to participate in the electoral process did not end with McCutcheon. If the struggle had ended there, we would not need further discussion.

The first amendment advocate thinks that if anything should be regulated, it’s the government. “Imagine the opportunity and prosperity that we could be enjoying if we had aggregate limits on government spending instead of limits on the people,” he proposed. After all, he said, “If Thomas Paine was alive today he would be using Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to promote Common Sense.”


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