Newt Gingrich: SuperPACs Will Make a Mess of 2016

Image: Newt Gingrich: SuperPACs Will Make a Mess of 2016

Thursday, 03 Apr 2014 10:09 AM

By Courtney Coren

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The Supreme Court's decision to remove the limit on the number of candidates donors are allowed to contribute to is a victory, but with SuperPAC donations still secret, the 2016 presidential election is shaping up to be a mess, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich writes.

The ruling is "an important first step in defense of the First Amendment," but doesn't go far enough to make political donations as transparent as they could be, Gingrich wrote in an opinion piece for Time magazine.

"While this situation is better than the blatantly unconstitutional campaign finance laws that came before it, it still makes a farce of our elections and muddles the political process for normal Americans, who can't know who is really behind the billions of dollars worth of ads they see on television," the former presidential candidate wrote.

"This secretive, confusing system is already shaping up to make a mess of the 2016 presidential elections as many of the likely candidates on both sides establish supposedly 'independent' SuperPACs run by their former staff and loyal supporters that will spend hundreds of millions on activities the candidates themselves can claim they're not responsible for."

Gingrich said that he agrees with what Justice Clarence Thomas suggested in his concurring opinion that the "meaningless distinction between 'contributions' to specific candidates and 'expenditures' on their behalf" by SuperPACs should be abolished.

But the former House speaker wrote that in order to do this, the limit on the amount individuals are allowed to give to candidates directly would have to be removed. The Supreme Court decision retained the $2,600 limit, arguing that it prevents corruption.

"I'd add the provision that all significant contributions should be reported publicly on the Internet in real-time, which would make for a far more transparent and accountable campaign finance system than we have today," he wrote.

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