An independent effort to oppose Jeb Bush’s presidential candidacy was recently unveiled by Shaun McCutcheon, famed for his role in the landmark Supreme Court ruling in 2014 striking down aggregate limits on the number of federal candidates, political action committees, and parties that one can contribute to in an election cycle.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax last week, Alabama businessman McCutcheon, whose eponymous Supreme Court case was denounced by President Obama as one that would lead "millionaires and billionaires bankrolling whoever they want," said that his main efforts for now would be behind a "Stop Jeb" campaign.
"Stop Jeb," he explained, was a project of the Conservative Action Fund "SuperPAC" that he helped launch shortly after emerging triumphantly over the Federal Election Commission in the high court’s "McCutcheon" ruling.
"Nothing against Gov. Bush at all, I’m sure he’s a fine man," McCutcheon told us, "But you know that if he becomes the Republican nominee, Hillary Clinton and the Democrats will run television ads over and over again linking him to his father and brother. And I don’t have to remind you that two presidencies of his father and brother both ended on an acrimonious note.
"If Republicans are going to have a chance at re-taking the presidency next year, they just don’t need to have all of that re-played over and over again."
As to which Republican hopeful he favors over Bush, McCutcheon replied: "I like several."
During the recent summit of GOP presidential hopefuls in Iowa, McCutcheon recalled, he joined Rep. Steve King, R.-Iowa, for a private dinner with Sen. Ted Cruz ,R.-Texas. In his words, "Ted’s very impressive, and he comes from where the conservative grass roots are in the party. But I also thought [Wisconsin Gov.] Scott Walker made a very strong impression on the crowd [in Iowa] with his speech and he made reforms in his state that made him a national figure. And [California businesswoman] Carly Fiorina made a strong speech in Iowa against Hillary.
"Those are my three favorites for now."
A Georgia Tech graduate and electrical engineer by trade, McCutcheon first got involved in politics nearly ten years ago through the Greater Birmingham Young Republicans because, he deadpanned, "I thought this group was a great place to meet single women—and, oh yes, a great place from which to help elect Republicans to office."
Now 47 and the owner of a successful engineering business ("and still single"), McCutcheon is well-known in political circles because of the urge to contribute to a greater number of candidates that led to the Supreme Court decision. A member of the Alabama Republican State Committee, he is a frequent speaker at Republican National Committee events, where, as he told us, "some of the RNC members love me and some don’t love me. I’m pretty sure [RNC] Chairman [Reince] Priebus does love me. Those who don’t like a system that is freer in which to contribute don’t, I guess."
For his part, McCutcheon practices what he preaches. Because of the change in election law resulting from the case that bears his name, the limits on donations were raised to $800,000 on the parties, $100,000 for the standard committees plus another $700,000 for three new party funds: one dealing with the next national convention in Cleveland, another dealing with the committee’s building in Washington, and a third to help with the costs of recounts. McCutcheon will donate substantially to several of the party funds.
But his major goal is greater participation in the American political system by contributors and he supports groups such as the Coolidge Reagan Foundation that will pursue the goal of free political speech.
"I don’t believe in rules limiting the people," McCutcheon told us, "Government can’t manage financing of campaigns. The more private money there is in the process, the more freedom and prosperity we will have. It’s that simple."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
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