After last week's Supreme Court decision in McCutcheon v FEC striking down total limits on campaign donations, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Sunday that even more deregulation is necessary to "overnight, equalize the middle class and the rich."
Speaking on ABC's "This Week," Gingrich cited the 1976 decision Buckley v. Valeo, which first equated with money with speech and said that to limit certain contributions was tantamount to limiting freedom of expression. Gingrich said that "you've gone from that original decision to Citizens United, which said, in effect, that corporations could give and created super PACs. Now you've said they're unlimited."
The 2010 Citizens United ruling allowed corporations, unions and individuals to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections through super PACs. Last week's McCutcheon decision lets individuals give an unlimited total amount directly to parties and candidates, so long as they stay within limits for individual campaigns.
Gingrich added, "The next step is the one Justice Clarence Thomas cited -- candidates should be allowed to take unlimited amounts of money from anybody. And you would, overnight, equalize the middle class and the rich."
The former speaker wan't the only panel member offering a counterintuitive take on Wednesday's decision. Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, argued that not every wealthy donor will embrace the outcome of the McCutcheon case, because they may now be obliged to give more.
"All the donors I know hate this decision, of course," he said. "This used to be a very good excuse to say to a candidate, ooh, I'm maxing out, I just can't help your campaign."
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