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Supreme Court Hears From Ind. Lawyer On Campaign Donations

Terre Haute lawyer Jim Bopp testifies before the U.S. Supreme Court today on behalf of the Republican National Committee, arguing campaign donation limits.

supreme court

Photo: flickr (S.E.B.)

The Supreme Court begins hearing cases today

The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing a case this morning on campaign finance and Terre Haute attorney Jim Bopp is the Republican National Committee’s lead counsel on the case.

This isn’t the first time he’s argued before the Supreme Court, in 2010, Bopp successfully argued the Citizens United case, which prohibits the government from restricting corporate political donations.

The case being argued this week sets out to answer whether the government can set a cap on the total amount an individual can give to several candidates.

Bopp argues it shouldn’t be allowed to do so.

“We have base contribution limits already that limit what you can give. For instance, it’s $2,600 to a candidate. That takes care of any concern of quid pro quo corruption. Beyond that, you have to say what’s the reason?

In a two-year period, individuals can give up to a total of $48,600 to political candidates. Limits are also set for donations to political parties and political action committees.

Robert Pederson represents the Indiana Chapter of Alliance for Democracy – a national organization that has actively opposed the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case.

He and other proponents of the contribution limits argue those caps help level the playing field. He says when limits are removed, it is a threat to the nation’s democracy.

“It takes away the influence that the public has on candidates and really puts them in the pocket of special interest, private interest and the wealth especially,” Pederson said.

Since Bopp argued the Citizens United Case three years ago, only one Supreme Court justice has changed. Justice John Paul Stevens—largely considered a liberal member of the court—has been replaced by Obama appointee Elena Kagen.

Gretchen Frazee

Gretchen Frazee is a reporter/producer for WFIU and WTIU news. Prior to her current role, Frazee worked as the associate online content coordinator for WFIU/WTIU. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she studied multimedia journalism and anthropology. You can follow her on Twitter @gretchenfrazee.

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