For those riled by Wednesday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that lifted limits on aggregate contributions, there was something of a silver lining — the court said Congress or the Federal Election Commission can take steps that might lessen the impact of the expected increase in contributions on the political system.
For example, regulators could limit the size of joint fundraising committees, which would address one of the chief complaints levied by critics of the ruling.
“We are encouraged the court encourages us to take regulatory action and we hope to work with our colleagues” to do so, FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, a Democrat, told the Center for Public Integrity Thursday after an agency meeting.
But given the deep partisan divide in Congress and the FEC’s tendency to deadlock on even minor issues, chances that new regulations related to the decision will be implemented are pretty slim.
While the three Democratic commissioners may push for changes such as increasing disclosure requirements, the FEC’s three Republicans are expected to support nothing more than matching the agency’s rules about aggregate limits to what’s explicitly laid out in the McCutcheon v. FEC decision.
Republican FEC Chairman Lee Goodman said he’s still assessing what, if anything, the FEC is “obligated” to do based on the ruling. But conforming the FEC’s rules on aggregate limits to agree with the ruling may not be needed, Goodman said.